In 1996, the state of California passed proposition 209 which prohibited race and gender from being a factor in university admissions. Now, some 24 years later, the University of California voted unanimously to restore affirmative action.
The move was made in the hope of diversifying their student population, according to CNN. The school’s Board of Regents reached an unanimous vote, endorsing the repeal of prop 209. They also voted in favor of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 which would formally appeal prop 209. “Proposition 209 has forced California public institutions to try to address racial inequality without factoring in race, even where allowed by federal law. The diversity of our university and higher education institutions across California, should—and must—represent the rich diversity of our state.” U.C. president Janet Napolitano said in a statement.
“There is amazing momentum for righting the wrongs caused by centuries of systemic racism in our country. The UC Board of Regents’ votes to endorse ACA 5 and to repeal Proposition 209 plays a part in that effort,” Board Chair John A. Pérez said in a statement.
“As we continue to explore all the University’s opportunities for action, I am proud UC endorsed giving California voters the chance to erase a stain, support opportunity and equality, and repeal Proposition 209.”
In a news release, the board said Proposition 209 challenged the university’s efforts to create and maintain a student body that “reflects California’s laudable cultural, racial, geographic and socioeconomic diversity.”
On Wednesday, the California state Assembly passed Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 by a vote of 60-14. The amendment must pass through the state Senate by June 25 in order to appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. California is one of only eight states that prevents race and gender from being a factor when it comes to admissions. “It makes little sense to exclude any consideration of race in admissions when the aim of the University’s holistic process is to fully understand and evaluate each applicant through multiple dimensions,” Napolitano said in her statement.
Last month, the University of California voted to remove ACT and SAT test scores as an admissions requirement for four years in an effort to shape the school’s admissions process to reflect “the broad-based values of the university.”