On Sunday, Peter Schrag, a former editor at the Sacramento Bee, published an op-ed entitled “Affirmative action in college admissions is not required,” responding to the University of California’s friend of the court brief filed in connection with a Supreme Court case considering the validity of using race in college admissions.
But on a number of occasions in the piece, Schrag’s information does not reflect UC data or the text of the amicus brief.
“According to UC data, 17% of African Americans who entered UC in 1992 graduated in four years; of those who began in 2007, 45% graduated in four years; 71% graduated in six years. Of those who entered in 1994, 57% had graduated in six years.”
Below is the data on graduation rates Schrag was provided by the university. The number Schrag provides — that 71 percent of students who began in 2007 graduated in six years — not exist, because six years from 2007 would be 2013.
The op-ed also incorrectly states that the amicus brief does not mention the UC Board of Regents’ 1995 vote in favor of Special Policy 1.
Schrag writes, “In California, the end came long ago, with a UC Board of Regents’ vote in July 1995 and the passage in November 1996 of Proposition 209, which barred all race preferences in public education, contracting and employment. Oddly enough, UC’s brief doesn’t mention the regents’ vote — the embarrassing fact that the original ban was self-inflicted.”
The university’s brief mentions the vote twice.
Here, the university’s brief makes explicit reference to the vote “disallowing the use of ‘race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as criteria for admission to the University or to any program of study.’”
A correction issued by The LA Times Thursday reads:
“An Aug. 26 Op-Ed article about the University of California’s amicus brief in a Texas case said the filing did not mention a 1995 vote by the regents to bar racial preferences. The vote was included in a footnote.”
The section of the op-ed quoted above remained unchanged. If the reason for not revising the piece is that a footnote is not part of a brief, then it is worth noting that the university also mentions Special Policy 1 in the body of its brief here:
Schrag also writes, “But throughout our nation’s history, city colleges and community colleges have generally been the first rung on the educational ladder for students whose parents didn’t go to college. When selective research universities such as UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego, which aspire to rank among the most highly regarded institutions in America, if not in the world, try to also be representative of the state’s population — to be elite and democratic too — they may well aspire to be something that never was and never will be.”
Here, Schrag substitutes underrepresented minorities — the group in question — for first-generation college students. At the University of California, about 60 percent of first-generation students are not underrepresented minorities, according to data from the 2012 UC Accountability Report. Policies directed toward first-generation college students and policies directed towards underrepresented minorities are not the same.
Curan Mehra is the lead higher education reporter.
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