A group of about 350 students and teachers from UC Berkeley as well as several middle and high schools in the East Bay denounced the university’s race-neutral admissions policies at a rally on campus Tuesday afternoon.
Organized by the activist group BAMN, the rally on Sproul Plaza featured teachers and students from the campus and other schools in Oakland and Berkeley who urged the university to adopt race-conscious admissions policies to increase the diversity of the student body.
Protesters carried signs that read “Affirmative Action” and “Education is a right.” They chanted, “Si se puede — yes we can,” and, “Educate — don’t segregate,” among other chants, while marching from the plaza to California Hall and back.
“I look around this (campus), and this does not resemble my community,” said Steven Wong, a senior at Skyline High School in Oakland, at the rally. “This must change.”
Wong was also at the BAMN-organized occupation of the campus registrar’s office in April, during which protesters called for the campus to double minority-student enrollment. Since then, the group has continued protesting the university’s lack of race-conscious admissions policies through various rallies and events on Sproul Plaza. Tuesday’s rally is the most recent in a series of protests.
Proposition 209, which voters passed in 1996, restricts the university from considering race in its admissions decisions.
“There are fewer black and Latino students at Berkeley than at private schools like Harvard and Stanford,” said Yvette Felarca, a BAMN organizer. “There are thousands of gifted and talented black and Latino students in California who are fully capable of getting accepted to Berkeley … UC Berkeley should double the number of black and Latino students.”
Four UCPD officers monitored Tuesday’s rally.
Contact Daniel Kwak at [email protected].