Students Fight For More Diversity on Campus

Opponents of proposition 209, the Affirmative Action ban in California with regard to racial, ethnic and gender preference in public education, employment and contracting; are on a mission to overturn the law claiming that it is the reason for the drop in Black, Latino and Native American enrollment on the state’s elite campuses.

Governor Jerry Brown supports the efforts of several minority students and advocate groups who filed a complaint in January 2010 saying the ban violates the civil rights of Black, Latino and Native American students. These groups make up about half of California’s high school graduates, but represent much smaller percentages on California’s most competitive campuses.

For example, according to UC Data, UC Berkeley’s current freshmen class of California residents is roughly 1% Native American, 3.5% black, 15% Latino, 30% white and 48% percent Asian.

Latina student Magali Flores, a  20 year old majoring in ethnic studies at UC Berkeley says, “As a state-serving institution, the university should reflect the demographics of California, and right now it doesn’t.  Proposition 209 wants to pretend that race isn’t real.”

In 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Michigan’s affirmative action  ban, citing a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race in admission to promote campus diversity.  Advocates for overturning California’s Proposition 209 are hoping for the same outcome.