Friday, March 5, 2010
The former University of California regent who led the effort to remove race from consideration for admission to public colleges said today he will review an agreement by UC San Diego and its Black Student Union to see if it violates the state constitution.
Ward Connerly, the founder and president of the Sacramento-based American Civil Rights Institute, helped win passage of Proposition 209 in 1996. The measure banned the consideration of race, sex and ethnicity in campus admissions.
Thursday's UCSD agreement was an attempt to ease racial tensions on campus stemming from a party during Black History Month. Concerns were inflamed by a program on the student-run TV station that defended the party, using racially insensitive language, and the discovery of a noose and a crudely formed Ku Klux Klan-style hood on campus.
Among the provisions of the deal were university funding of Black Student Union programs designed to increase minority admissions.
It is OK for Chancellor Marye Anne Fox to spend money for the BSU to seek more minority applicants, said Connerly, who is black.
"It doesn't sound like she's limiting herself to that," said Connerly, who wants to get a copy of the agreement so his knowledge is not limited to media reports.
Several lawyers are also looking into the deal, he said.
The Black Student Union held several on-campus rallies after the early-February party, but leaders of the group said they were more concerned about an ingrained institutional racism at UCSD.
Blacks make up just 2 percent of the student body at the La Jolla campus.
"There just aren't enough black kids who are academically prepared to go to UC San Diego," Connerly said.
He said members of the Black Student Union would do the most good by going to churches and other organizations in their communities, emphasizing education to younger children to make them academically competitive when the time comes to apply to college.
There are numerous opportunities for publicly funded higher education in California -- including other UC campuses, the California State University system and community colleges -- so minority students don't need to limit themselves to selective schools like UCSD, he said.
It doesn't matter if a college is 100 percent black or 0 percent black, college admissions have to adhere to the standards that have been set forth, he said.