Term Paper: Proposition #209 in California

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[. . .] Meanwhile, during the same time frame, African-Americans made up 11.5% of students at the University of Southern California Law School (a private institution not guided by #209's anti-affirmative action rules), and black students comprised 8% of students at Stanford Law School, another private institution.

In virtually all eight University of California campuses, "admission rates for black and Latino students dropped by more than 25%" (Johnson & Pachon, 2001), and the falloff at UC Berkeley and UCLA was even more dramatic: African-Americans experienced more than a 50% drop in admissions, while the Latino admission rate dove by more than 40%. Doing the math a little further, there was a system-wide drop of 6,500 in the number of black and Latino freshmen in 2001 as compared with 1997, the year #209 went into effect. And ironically, during that same time period, Latino high school student applications to all UC campuses increased by two-thirds. The data contradicts the argument that #209 is having "no significant effect."

If one looks closely at the number of minority students turned away institutionally from an opportunity to learn at a fine UC university, it is an extremely significant consequence of Proposition #209.

Additional data, which clearly substantiates Prop. #209's negative effect on "state educational services," is provided by "The Office of Student Research" which is a division of "Undergraduate Affairs" at the University of California, Berkeley. The percentage of "Hispanic" ("Chicano" or "Latino") students at UC Berkeley (undergraduates and graduate students) in 1996 was 12.1%. But by 2001, the percentage of Hispanics at UC Berkeley had fallen to 9%. And, as far as black students at UC Berkeley are concerned - in 1996 the percentage of blacks was 5.5, but in 2001 blacks made up just 3.8% of the UC Berkeley student body. Even Native Americans (California was originally their land) have taken a hit from Proposition #209. In 1996, 1.1% of the UC Berkeley student body was Native American, and in 2001, that dipped to just 0.6% of the student population.

And there has been an impact on the downward side when it comes to the hiring of women professors by UC: in 1994, women made up 37% of the new hires on UC campuses, but in 1998, a year after Proposition #209 cleared through the legal challenges, women only accounted for 27% of UC's new hires (Black Issues in Higher Education, 2001).

Conclusion

The final chapter in the saga of Proposition #209 will not be written for a long time, but fragments of information trickling out indicate there may be years of what Muhammad Ali used to call "rope-a-dope," each side taking a few punches while the opponent bides time against the ropes prior to lashing out with a few new licks of his own. The enforcement of #209 is in the hands of the "Pacific Legal Foundation" (PLF) which sued the Berkeley Unified School District (Egelko, 2003) in August; PLF contends that the Berkeley district seeks an enrollment at each school within 5% of the district's overall racial population, and that is said to violate #209. But for every lawsuit brought by PLF, there appears to be evidence of non-compliance somewhere else. For example: a) the city of San Francisco "still reviews contracting bids by minority-owned firms as if they were as much as 10% below their real price" (Johnson, 2001); b) the Sacramento Municipal Utility District gives preference to blacks and Latino business owners; c) at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration, there still are "goals and timetables" for minority participation (28.3% minority; 6.9% female) in hiring procedures; d) Huntington Beach Union High School District adheres to a policy utilizing the color of one's skin as a factor in requests to transfer from one high school to another - if that transfer leads to "too few" whites or "too many" non-whites. These cases to the contrary notwithstanding, the main impact felt following the implementation of #209 has been in the free-fall of minority enrollment at state-sponsored universities. It is also worth mentioning, though, that there has been a "language impact" outcome in all of this which favors the conservative, anti-affirmative action side, when it comes to media "sound bites" presented to voters. "Proposition 54...the 'Racial Privacy Initiative,' is another in a series of coups for conservative wordsmiths," wrote Miriam Pepper in the Kansas City Star's editorial pages (August, 2003). "Who could possibly oppose privacy, especially on a topic as loaded as race...It's another case where conservatives have outwitted liberals in the word game to frame public issues." Well, if it is a word game, and there is much at stake, and the Connerlys are winning, where does that leave blacks and Latinos (78% of blacks and 66% of Latinos support maintaining affirmative action programs according to Public Policy Institute of California, while only 27% of whites indicate support)?

References

Black Issues in Higher Education (2001). UC Hiring Fewer Women Professors

After Prop. 209. 18, 12.

California Secretary of State (1996). Vote96 - an Analysis of Proposition 209

By Legislative Analyst; Official Title and Summary prepared by the Attorney

General. http://vote96.ss.ca.gov/Vote96/html/BP/209.htm.

Chemerinsky, Erwin (Aug. 22, 2003). Why California's racial privacy initiative is Unconstitutional. CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/08/22/findlaw.analysis.chemerinsky.race.

Egelko, Bob (2003, Aug. 8). Prop. 209 backers sue Berkeley schools over racial balance program. San Francisco Chronicle, p. A-19.

Johnson, Harold, & Pachon, Harry P. (2001). Symposium: Affirmative Action in California. Insight on the News, 17, 40-47.

Office of Student Research (2001). Percent of UC Berkeley Undergraduate and Graduate Students Combined by Ethnicity. Division of Undergraduate Affairs,

University of California - Berkeley.

Public Policy Institute of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Proposition #209 in California.  (2003, August 26).  Retrieved March 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/proposition-209-california/2699922

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/proposition-209-california/2699922.