About 30 high school students and affirmative action supporters gathered at UC Berkeley Friday to call for increased underrepresented minority acceptances at the University of California.
At a press conference organized by the activist group BAMN, the group criticized the university’s underrepresented minority admittance rate for the 2012-13 school year. Five black and Hispanic students from local public high schools at the press conference are appealing admission to one or more UC campuses.
“I lacked parents who were citizens and who knew English,” said Marquez Monroe, a first-generation Hispanic Berkeley High School student. “I don’t know where I should go or where I should ask for help.”
BAMN attorneys Monica Smith and Ronald Cruz claim the university is trying to keep underrepresented student acceptances low to comply with Proposition 209, which bans affirmative action in California public schools and institutions. On April 2, a panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a challenge to the proposition brought forth by BAMN.
“Inequalities are institutional and not representative of individual failings,” Cruz said.
This is not the first time BAMN has protested UC admissions policies on campus.
BAMN and the Defend Affirmative Action student political party briefly occupied the campus registrar’s office April 6 to demand that the campus double the number of underrepresented minority students enrolled for the fall 2012 freshman class.
Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri explained at the occupation that the university cannot consider race in admissions.
“This problem is more complicated than you’re presenting it,” he said.
The groups also held an April 8 press conference centered around Berkeley High School senior Aillen Zazueta-Bella, who planned to appeal her rejection from the campus.