B.O.A.R.S. Proposal Must Be Adopted With Amendments

    Dear Editor,

    The UC-wide faculty committee Board of Admissions and
    Relations with Schools has proposed a new admissions policy that includes
    eliminating the SAT II subject test requirement and the rigid use of other
    criteria to determine who is UC-eligible. If passed and correctly implemented,
    it would increase the opportunities of Latino, black, American Indian,
    Filipino, rural and low-income students of all races to attend a UC school. The
    UC faculty and regents must adopt this proposal.

    The UC system has grown increasingly segregated since
    Proposition 209, California’s
    affirmative action ban, passed. In 2007, UCSD’s freshman class was only 16.4
    percent Latino, black and American Indian, while these groups comprise 43.7
    percent of California’s high
    school graduates.

    The B.O.A.R.S. proposal would allow UC campuses to reverse
    this. The proposal is modest, reasonable and long overdue. It would replace the
    university’s mechanical eligibility formula, which uses academically unsound
    criteria to automatically disqualify thousands of students, a disproportionate
    number of whom are underrepresented or low-income.

    The university’s own studies reveal that the SAT II (and the
    SAT I) does not correlate with college success and completion rates.

    In California,
    62 percent of Latino and 65 percent of black high school graduates who complete
    the university’s “a-g” requirements do not take the SAT II. This is due to the
    lack of counselors in segregated, under-resourced schools and racial
    stereotyping from counselors who do not prepare students properly. This
    arbitrary and discriminatory barrier must be removed.

    The B.O.A.R.S. proposal would allow the system to consider
    students who fall short of the “a-g” requirements. Currently, 45 percent of California’s
    high schools don’t offer enough “a-g” classes for all students to meet the
    requirement. Disproportionately, the schools that don’t offer these classes are
    majority Latino and/or black. Punishing students in segregated schools who do
    not meet these requirements is racist and unfair.

    The B.O.A.R.S.
    proposal should be adopted, but with two important amendments. First,
    the proposal currently eliminates the guarantee of admission to the top 12.5
    percent of California’s high
    school graduates. It must be amended to restore this, both to prevent any
    counter position of an increase in underrepresented minority student enrollment
    to this guarantee, and because the guarantee is democratic, benefitting all California
    students, including its rapidly increasing Latino student population.

    Second, the proposal would more likely achieve substantial
    increases in underrepresented student enrollment if it were amended to
    eliminate the use of the SAT I.
    Numerous studies have been conducted on the racist and economic bias of the
    SAT. The demand for eliminating the SAT I has been raised in the UC system for
    many years — including by former UC President Richard Atkinson, the ASUC and
    the UC Latino Eligibility Task Force.

    The SAT and other standardized tests do not measure
    intellectual ability or potential. They stigmatize minority and poor students
    while giving an unfair advantage to white and privileged students. Eliminating
    the SAT is necessary to protect meaningful gains in underrepresented student
    enrollment from the threat of right-wing lawsuits and demagoguery.

    — Ronald Cruz

    Organizer, Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration
    and Immigrant Rights

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