Has UCLA Found A Way to Use Race in Admissions?

Many universities in the United States grant advantages to members of racial minorities in admissions--though not all will admit it. In California, the use of race in admissions to public universities has been illegal since the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), however, according to evidence I will present, appears to have found a way to work around it.

In 2012, UCLA released an internal report--written by a sociology professor whom it had selected to examine its admissions policies--providing the evidence. Although UCLA has tried to downplay the report--and, I think, appears to have misconstrued its findings to the media and the public--the university has placed it in the public domain for all to examine for themselves.

As I allege in a book released last week, the report discovered that UCLA gave preference to black applicants, overall, such that in 2008, slightly more than 33% of the admitted black students would not have been admitted without racial preferences. The university did so while under considerable political pressure--and using methods that have thus far been overlooked.

Why haven’t the media run more stories about the UCLA report? As I discuss in another book, part of the reason may be media bias: Left-leaning reporters would prefer that the public not examine the admissions process. However, much of the blame lies with UCLA, which claimed that the report “found no evidence of bias in UCLA’s admissions process,” which I can show was incorrect.

The reason UCLA commissioned the report in the first place is that in 2008 a member of UCLA’s faculty oversight committee on admissions forced the university’s hand. Suspecting bias, he asked for a random set of admissions files to conduct statistical analyses. UCLA refused that request. To deflect scrutiny, UCLA hired an “independent researcher” to investigate instead.

That faculty member was me. 

In the next articles for this series, I will discuss a number of revelations about UCLA admissions, including: 

  • In 2006, after seeing record-low enrollment of black students, UCLA switched to a “holistic” admission system. The reason, as the university’s chancellor admitted in a faculty committee meeting, was because he believed it would cause the university to admit more under-represented minority students, especially black students.
  • After implementing the new system, the admission rate of black students jumped dramatically, from 11.5% to 16.5%. The reason, I will show through data I have posted online, was not the “holisticness” of UCLA’s new system, but, I allege, new “second chance” rounds for reviewing applicants.
  • The racial preferences that UCLA grants are not simply a byproduct of class-based preferences that it (legally) offers.

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