UCLA breaks law by using affirmative action, says UCLA law professor

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Robby Soave Reporter
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The University of California at Los Angeles gives special consideration to black applicants for admission, in direct violation of state law, a new study found.

The study was conducted by Richard Sander, a law professor at UCLA, who concluded that the university has systematically discriminated against non-black students since 2006, when its admission policies were revised.

“So far as discrimination can ever be shown through statistical analysis, it is shown here,” he wrote in the study.

Public institutions in California have been disallowed from granting preferential treatment to people based on their racial heritage since the passage of a statewide ballot initiative in 1996. Between 1996 and 2006, the university used an admissions process that scored applicants on three criteria: academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and life challenges. This third criteria rewarded applicants for overcoming disadvantages such as poverty, having parents without college degrees, and belonging to single-parent households.

But the university revised its approach in 2006, after campus minority groups protested a decline in black student admissions. Two new review stages were added to the admissions process, causing significantly higher acceptance rates for black students. These results were undeniably achieved through the illegal method of affirmative action, said Sander.

“They are clearing violating the law,” said Sander, in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The evidence was so overwhelming in this case.”

Starting in 2007, black student admissions at UCLA increased by 30 percent, while admission rates for white, Asian, and Hispanic students each declined by 10 percent. This result is nonsensical, because Hispanic applicants tend to be similarly disadvantaged as black students; a race-neutral approach should not yield grossly disproportionate admissions rates for Hispanic and black students, said Sander.

“There is no logical explanation for how an admissions change would benefit blacks but hurt Hispanics,” he said.

Sander’s study concurs with the findings of another completed earlier this year by UCLA sociology professor Robert Mare, at the behest of the university.

“Mare’s findings were subject to extensive negotiation with the university, and the final report phrased things in a diplomatic way, but the numbers he came up with were essentially the same as the numbers that I came up with,” said Sander.

Mare’s report was finished in fall of 2011, but was not released until May 2012. Tim Groseclose, a political science professor at UCLA and author of the bookLeft Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind,” said that administrators and certain faculty members had attempted to spin the findings in order to deny violating the law.

“The university is not being completely honest here,” he said in an interview with The DC News Foundation. “[Mare’s] report does find evidence of racial bias.”

For Sander, the great tragedy of UCLA’s race-conscious admission policies is that they harm minorities. He noted that under the previous system, which considered students’ disadvantages rather than their races, minority students who were admitted to the university performed better.

“Blacks and Hispanics at the University of California have had much better outcomes under the race-neutral regime than they did before race neutrality,” said Sander. “Graduation rates have skyrocketed for blacks and Hispanics. The university is producing many more black and Hispanic bachelor-degree-holders than it did before.”

Race-neutral admissions lead students to attend universities that better suit their academic abilities, leading to lower dropout rates among minority students.

“UCLA, in breaking race neutrality, is doing something that hurts African American students,” he said.

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