Black, Hispanic Enrollment Decline at UC; Berkeley Hit Hard
Compared to last year's numbers, 12% fewer black and Hispanic students intend to enroll at the University of California (UC) this fall.
UC's ban on affirmative action programs has prompted even sharper declines at its highly-competitive Berkeley campus, which suffered a 52% drop in the number of Black and Hispanic students who expect to enroll this fall. Of the 3,660 students expected to enroll, only 264 are Hispanic and 98 are black. Asians, who did not benefit from previous affirmative action programs, will compose 42% of the freshman class.
Last month, UC-Berkeley announced that it had rejected more than 800 Black and Hispanic applicants who had 4.0 grade point averages and who had scores of at least 1,200 on the SAT exam. Minority leaders argue that standardized tests are often biased against members of their communities and decry the damage that will be caused to all students as a result of declining diversity in the student body.
Yvonne Valenzuela, leader of an outreach group for fellow Hispanic students at Berkeley, said, "We have really been devastated...It's definitely going to change the way the campus is, the education you get outside the classroom from having diversity."
Media Resources: AP and Washington Post - May 21, 1998