Friday, September 12, 2008

Admissions Background

I've been officially confirmed as one of two student representatives to the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools (CUARS), a committee of the UCLA Academic Senate. Now is an exciting and controversial time for CUARS and UCLA's admission policies. I decided it would be a good idea to collect some background information on the committee and controversy.

Professor Groseclose's Resignation Report
This fairly long report is what started the controversy. Shout out: A letter by my good friend Aaron Israel is included on page 31 of this report.

Then Professor Groseclose did an interview with the OC Register that was picked up by AP and then showed up in papers around the country.

Gloseclose said he wanted to use statistical analysis to study the probability that students were being admitted by race. He asked for 1,000 student files, including essays, with the names removed. Campus officials refused to provide them, saying privacy issues prevented their release.

Gloseclose said he actually favors the idea of offering preferences to bring in more black students, but he is unhappy at what he calls a "lack of transparency" in the process.

Discussions within the admissions committee, he said, led him to believe his probe was being deliberately stunted.

UCLA officials have complained in the past that private universities such as USC and Stanford can "pick off" the best and brightest black students, because they can offer better financial aid.

Groseclose said that, at the same time black enrollments went up, low-income Vietnamese enrollments went down. Low-income Vietnamese applicants are typically among the most disadvantaged, he said, because few had parents who attended college and they often overcome grave hardships to enroll.

Here is UCLA's response on the admissions as well as a short letter by Chancellor Block.

The Los Angeles Times printed two Op-Eds about the admissions controversy. One by UCLA Professor Darnell Hunt (who will be serving on CUARS this year) and another by Heather Mac Donald who is a contributing editor to the City Journal

I also found this just-published profile of Ward Connerly, the champion of Prop. 209 (banning affirmative action in UC admissions), pretty interesting:

The now-banned affirmative action system has been replaced with other official policies. There is the Connerly-championed “comprehensive review,” which takes a holistic view of students. “We look at what school a student attended, what courses were offered, what courses you took, your socioeconomic conditions, whether you had a parent go to college,” Connerly explains. Also, the top 4 percent of California high school graduates who have taken the required courses are guaranteed admission to the UC system. In schools that are de facto racially segregated, diversity will be achieved in a way that doesn’t use quotas and is more palatable to conservatives. A third Connerly-backed pathway to the UC schools, through California’s community colleges, is supposed to further mitigate the effects of the ban.

No comments: