One of the top medical schools in the world, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine, has reportedly dropped in the rankings, and some faculty members are pointing to admissions decisions that “prioritize diversity over merit” as a likely cause.

In 2021, Associate Dean for Admissions Jennifer Lucero allegedly became angry when an official with the admissions committee questioned whether one black student, whose grades and test scores were far below the school’s average, was a good fit for the school, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday.

“Did you not know African-American women are dying at a higher rate than everybody else?” Lucero reportedly said before claiming that the applicant’s scores should not matter and the school needed such people.

California’s public schools are not allowed, per state law, to consider a person’s race during the admissions process. Therefore, Lucero’s reaction caused some of the admissions officers to feel uncomfortable, one of them calling it “troubling.”

The outlet continued:

In interviews with the Free Beacon and complaints to UCLA officials, including investigators in the university’s Discrimination Prevention Office, faculty members with firsthand knowledge of the admissions process say it has prioritized diversity over merit, resulting in progressively less qualified classes that are now struggling to succeed.

Within three years of Lucero’s hiring in 2020, UCLA dropped from 6th to 18th place in U.S. News & World Report‘s rankings for medical research. And in some of the cohorts she admitted, more than 50 percent of students failed standardized tests on emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.

“Race-based admissions have turned UCLA into a ‘failed medical school,’ said one former member of the admissions staff. ‘We want racial diversity so badly, we’re willing to cut corners to get it.'”

Lucero’s bio on the school’s website says she “participates actively in the recruitment of underrepresented students to the profession of medicine through her work in pathway and outreach programs.”

“As a Chicana physician, she takes a special interest in diversity issues in medicine and disparities in the delivery of obstetric healthcare to women of color,” the site reads.

The school’s website has a “Anti-racism Roadmap” and claims it is committed to fighting “structural racism.”

UCLA required first-year medical students to attend a lecture in March on “racial equity” where a guest speaker had attendees chant “Free Palestine,” according to a report.