Affirmative Action in College Admissions Will Be on California’s Ballot in November
California voters will be asked in November whether they want to end a ban on affirmative action in college admissions, even though the state college system’s own demographic data shows increasingly diverse campuses absent preferential treatment.
Proposition 209, passed in 1996, added to the state’s constitution a ban on racial or sex preferences in education and hiring decisions in government institutions. This meant that on top of forbidding discrimination against somebody on the basis of sex, race, or ethnicity, the state couldn’t give somebody an advantage in public college admissions or government jobs on the basis of these factors.
In June, Democratic lawmakers voted to put on the November ballot a measure that would strike down Proposition 209. It’s on the ballot as Proposition 16, and the new proposition would simply strike out the text added to the state’s constitution by Proposition 209.
The proposition is supported by the regents of the University of California, which is notable because former leaders of the college system led the campaign for Proposition 209 in the first place. Former regent Ward Connerly, a Republican, said at the time that affirmative action was intended to be a temporary measure to recover from decades of racist practices, but that “[t]hree decades later, affirmative action is permanent and firmly entrenched as a matter of public policy. … not because of any moral imperative but because it has become the battleground for a political and economic war that has racial self-interest as its centerpiece.”
The arguments for eliminating Proposition 209 are odd and not terribly compelling (which would explain why Prop. 16 is currently doing poorly in polls). Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D–San Diego) authored the bill that would become Prop. 16 and explained in June that “The ongoing pandemic, as well as recent tragedies of police violence, is forcing Californians to acknowledge the deep-seated inequality and far-reaching institutional failures that show that your race and gender still matter.” Affirmative action, notably, does nothing to solve either COVID-19 or police violence.
Coverage in The Los Angeles Times is giving a lot of attention to a study from U.C. Berkeley released in August claiming that in the immediate wake of Prop. 209, there was a drop in
Article from Latest – Reason.com