The University of California’s new admissions policies are an end-run around the state’s race-blind laws.
RALEIGH – As a member of the University of California Board of Regents, Ward Connerly experienced pressure to increase diversity on the campuses of the university system. After a 12-year term that ended in 2005, he still doesn’t know what the system was seeking.
“There was a lot of mindless blather about celebrating diversity,” Connerly said about his period on the board. “When I left, I didn’t know more about diversity. I asked a lot of questions. I could never get an answer that made sense to me.”
Connerly was the keynote speaker at the recent Pope Center Conference on “Diversity: How Much and What Kinds Do Universities Need?” held in Raleigh at the Brownstone Inn. As a regent, Connerly successfully fought for the elimination of race-based admission practices at the University of California. He also led a successful statewide campaign in 1996 to adopt Proposition 209, which prevented the state government from giving preferential treatment based on race. Today he is supporting a similar initiative in Michigan.
There’s an old North Carolina joke about bad ideas in California taking 10 years to arrive here. But one seems to be making record time. Exponential salary growth for public-university executives has the UNC president search committee California dreamin’.
Readers will recall that last year Marye Anne Fox, then chancellor of North Carolina State University, left Raleigh to take the same position at the University of California at San Diego. The West Coast school had offered Fox $102,000 a year more than N.C. State paid her. Fox was making $248,000 a year here; she picked up $350,000 in San Diego.
This spring Chancellor Marye Anne Fox surprised folks at North Carolina State University and the UNC system when she announced that she had accepted the chancellorship at the University of California at San Diego. It didn’t take long, however, for people at UNC to find an old foe to blame for Fox’s departure: low pay.
He was held up as the poster boy of racial preferences in the fight against California’s Proposition 209, the ballot initiative outlawing preferences passed overwhelmingly in 1996. An ardent defender of preferences, in 1995 he was profiled as their best defense in the pages of The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.
The Princeton-based National Association of Scholars (NAS) and the Berkeley-based California Association of Scholars (CAS) last week expressed great satisfaction over enrollment figures released by the University of California. Minority enrollment at the University of California is up despite the banning of race preferential admissions policies there three years ago.