Regents say Moores’ views not their own

    The UC Board of Regents passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to the use of comprehensive review in admissions, at the same time singling out UC Board of Regents Chairman John Moores for his views on admissions and stating that his views were not representative of those of the board as a whole.

    The resolution, which was passed by a vote of 8-6 at the March 18 Regents’ meeting, caused heated discussion among the Regents, some of whom came to the defense of Moores. The resolution states that the views he expressed on admissions in an opinion article in the March edition of Forbes magazine, as chairman of the Board of Regents, do not represent the views of the Board of Regents.

    “I can’t believe this. Here we are contemplating the resolution to censure a member of the board for one article published in a magazine,” UC Regent Ward Connerly said prior to the vote. “We will disagree on any number of subjects … If the world doesn’t know right now that there are a number of members of this board who don’t agree with Moores, I don’t know where they’re living.”

    In his Forbes piece, Moores wrote that while he has been chairman of the board since 2002, he is “just one vote.”

    “Sadly, today’s UC admissions policies are victimizing students — not just those unfairly denied admission, but also many with low college entrance exam scores who were admitted and can’t compete,” Moores wrote in the piece, which was titled “On My Mind — College Capers.”

    Regent Velma Montoya pointed out that the piece was titled “On My Mind.”

    “It doesn’t say ‘On the Regents’ Mind,’” she said.

    Other Regents said they were in favor of the resolution for a number of reasons.

    “It’s a question of who believes that [this] is damaging to the university because it provided a partial argument,” Regent George Marcus said. “Until it’s fully investigated, I don’t think any Regent should endanger the reputation of the university.”

    Student Regent Matt Murray cited his concern with the perception that Moores represents the board as a whole.

    “I do think the chairman’s position is special, and so I will vote for this,” he said.

    In his piece, Moores cited his October 2003 report on UC Berkeley admissions, in which he found that, in 2002, 359 students with combined SAT scores of 1,000 or less were accepted while 1,421 students with SATs above 1,400 were denied admission. He also presented his belief that the university was discriminating against Asians, and that under the cover of comprehensive review the university, he believes, is “thwarting the law.”

    The October 2002 report spurred UC President Robert C. Dynes to create an Eligibility and Admissions Study Group, which, after five monthly meetings, presented its final report at the meeting, directly preceding the discussion of the resolution.

    The study group did not present any definitive conclusion on whether or not there was any cause for worry in the admissions process, but did make a number of suggestions. These include keeping the 6-percent cap for “special admits,” whereby campuses can admit students who do not meet eligibility requirements—sometimes possessing special talents such as athletic ability. They also recommended that more data be provided on academically weak students who are accepted, strong students who are rejected, and appeal cases that result in admission.

    The group further recommended that a study group on admissions be formed to continue meeting twice a year, as well as recommended making more “aggressive” efforts to improve the clarity and amount of information available to the public about admissions processes.

    UC Senior Vice President Bruce Darling, who served as co-chair of the study group, said that while the study was “not perfect,” the group could see that “major differences in admissions have been substantially reduced at each campus since Prop. 209 took effect.”

    He voiced that there are still minor discrepancies, specifically at UC Berkeley and UCLA, which require further examination, though these are “well within what one might accept from a statistical model.”

    “I don’t for one minute believe they have come up with a final answer,” Dynes said. “This is a dynamic process, and we will continue with the [areas] we want to look at.”

    Moores, who was part of the study group, expressed some lingering concerns.

    “The study group failed to do one thing I asked for — it failed to provide transparency on the admissions process,” he said. “I think the university is ahead of where it was before, but that there is a lot of work to do.”

    As for his mention in the resolution, Moores called it “outrageous.”

    “There is delicious irony in the fact that much of my work was done about Berkeley,” he said. “I think many people in this room are old enough to remember the Free Speech Movement.”

    He said he saw no justification for the resolution at this time, citing that Darling’s report had identified unexplained data.

    “This will be seen clearly as an attack on free speech,” he concluded, moments before the item passed through an open roll call vote.

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