Article finds race not factor in admissions

    A Los Angeles Times analysis of the University of California has found that race was not a factor overall in its admissions process, according to a Nov. 3 article.

    The analysis concluded that underrepresented groups on UC campuses are admitted with below-average test scores at the same rates as whites and Asians. Latinos with below-average S.A.T. scores were admitted at “”only slightly”” higher rates than whites and Asians, and blacks with below-average scores were significantly less likely to get in.

    “”These findings suggest that the UC admissions are on track,”” UC spokesman Hanan Eisenman said. “”It also shows that we are drawing from the full range of UC-eligible students, and that seems desirable from an institution such as the University of California. Our studies show that once they enroll at a campus, by and large these students succeed in their studies.””

    This article follows an earlier Times article revealing UC Board of Regents Chair John Moores¹ preliminary report on UC admissions. Moores¹ report, which looked at S.A.T. scores of admits at UC Berkeley, accused the university of turning away students with high test scores while admitting others with S.A.T. scores below 1,000, and prompted the UC Regents to order a systemwide review of admissions.

    The San Diego Union-Tribune followed in the growing controversy by publishing an article scrutinizing UCSD admits on Oct. 26. The article reported that 58 percent of UCSD students admitted in 2002 with S.A.T. scores under 1,000 were underrepresented minorities.

    While the recent scrutiny of UC admissions raised questions about possible “”back-door”” affirmative action in the university¹s two-year-old comprehensive review admission process, which looks at a wide variety of factors including grades, service, personal hardship and first-generation college attendance, the latest Times article provided evidence that the University of California¹s claim that race and ethnicity were not factors in the admissions process.

    The publication¹s analysis of UC admissions data stated that taken together, students applying in 2002 and 2003 with S.A.T. scores below 1,000 who best categorize themselves as black, Latino or Native American were equally likely to be admitted as those categorized as Asian or Caucasian. The admission rate for both groups was 63 percent.

    It also found that 67 percent of Latinos with scores under 1,000 were admitted to one of the UC campuses, compared to 65 percent of Asians, 60 percent of Caucasians and 49 percent of black applicants.

    However, the analysis also showed that the numbers differed for the UC system¹s two most competitive universities. It reported that Latinos and blacks were twice as likely to be accepted than Caucasians and Asians at UC Berkeley, and a quarter more likely at UCLA. Berkeley accepted only 8 percent and UCLA 7 percent of all applicants with S.A.T.s under 1,000.

    At UCSD, data provided by the Office of Admissions about in-state applicants for the class of fall 2002 showed results differing from both the overall Times conclusion that the UC system accepted all applicants at similar rates and its findings regarding the most competitive schools. In UCSD¹s case, admissions of students with low S.A.T. scores went in a different order altogether with the highest acceptance rate going to Latinos, followed in order by Asians, blacks and Caucasians.

    Latinos with scores below 1,000 were accepted at a rate of 23 percent, Asians at 17 percent, African Americans at 12 percent and Caucasians at nearly 9 percent.

    However, applicants scoring under 1,000 represented just under 4,000 candidates, a small portion of the 36,000-plus in-state applicants for fall 2002.

    The grade point average of students admitted with scores under 1,000 averaged 3.86, while those with scores over 1,400 that were not admitted had an average GPA of 3.38.

    Director of Admissions and Relations with Schools Mae Brown said that readers are prohibited by state law from looking at race or ethnicity, that students with low scores are rejected across the board and that S.A.T.s are just one of a number of factors included in comprehensive review.

    Following the publication of the Union-Tribune article, Brown also said she welcomed the UC Regents¹ study of systemwide admissions processes.

    “”I think that if we reach a point after this review and there¹s something to correct in the comprehensive review policy, then by all means I think that should be done,”” Brown said. “”I think that as a research and teaching institution, we¹re constantly reevalutating.””

    Eisenman felt that the Times study was accurate yet “”troubling”” in its focus on S.A.T. I scores, which UC admissions rank behind GPA and S.A.T. II scores in terms of importance in evaluating applicants.

    “”It focuses solely on the S.A.T. I scores, which has been determined to be a flawed measurement,”” Eisenman said. “”That¹s why UC faculty have weighed other factors more heavily and why the College Board is revamping the exam.””

    Eisenman said the university was also concerned by the suggestion that a particular group of students would be “”deemed unworthy”” of a UC education.

    “”These students have achieved high grades in rigorous high school courses and would not have been admitted otherwise,”” he said.

    UC Regent Ward Connerly, author of the recently defeated Prop. 54 and a vocal critic of any use of race or ethnicity in admissions processes, issued a press release on Oct. 27 stating that he had supported comprehensive review at its inception and now supported taking a closer look at it.

    “”I strongly applaud Chairman John Moores for exercising his due diligence as a fiduciary of the university,”” Connerly stated.

    He went on to state he would not take a stance before seeing the results of the systemwide study.

    “”Any evaluation of comprehensive review involves extremely complex and very nuanced considerations that cannot be detected by a cursory examination, particularly the question of whether race and ethnicity have somehow intruded into the selection process,”” he stated. “”Contrary to a number of press accounts, some of which involve speculation on my part as well as that of others, I have not, and will not, draw any conclusion about some of the issues raised by the chairman¹s report until all the facts are in.””

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