Racial entry quotas to stay

July 7, 1995

The governing board of the University of California is not now to consider a proposal to abandon a cornerstone of affirmative action - admitting students on racial grounds.

Black governing board member, Ward Connerly, who had been going to propose that the university stop admitting students on any basis other than merit (exam results and performance in high school), appears to have changed his mind. He says he now sees merit in some cases of preferential treatment for black and Hispanic students.

Mr Connerly, a Republican, has taken a look at the demographics, and it is these figures that have caused his ideas to undergo an "evolution".

He found that only about 1,000 of entering students this autumn will be black. That means that a very small percentage of blacks are gaining admission to the university, even with the present policy of affirmative action in place. There are 160,000 students at the nine campuses of the University of California.

"I'm terrified that we can go into the 21st century with only 1,000 African-American students in this state eligible to go to the University of California," said Mr Connerly.

He will be submitting a plan for changing the current policy, which gives preference to ethnic minorities, at a Board of Regents meeting later this month.

He explained that he now thought that other criteria, such as poverty and "life experiences" , in addition to merit, could be considered in some cases. But his belief remains the same: "Race should not be a part of education."

Other efforts to modify the university's affirmative action policy are expected, including one from Jack Peltason, the university's president.

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