Affirmative Action May Be Down But it’s Not Out

Black Local and National News

by BA 523 Views

By Peter White NASHVILLE, TN — In November, California voters will decide whether to repeal Proposition 209, a 1996 ballot measure that added a paragraph to the state constitution prohibiting use of affirmative action in public education, public employment, and public contracting.  The affect of the measure was immediate. There was a dramatic drop in the number of Latinos and Blacks entering the UC University system. In the year after Prop 209 passed, only one Black student entered UC Berkeley’s law school and that was only because the student was admitted the previous year and had taken a deferment.  Today in California, African American and Latino students make up 60% of 12th graders in the state but only 29% of undergraduates in the UC system. “That’s a measure of the disparity we continue to see in the state of California that we are not able to address aggressively because of Proposition 209,” said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). As discouraging as those numbers are in California, the University of Tennessee didn’t admit any African American students prior to 1952. In 2014-15, 1,802 (7%) of the university’s 27,410 students were African...