Several ASUC officials published a formal letter Oct. 8 calling for the resignation of Regent Richard Blum from the UC Board of Regents.
The letter was signed by ASUC President Victoria Vera, ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Nicole Anyanwu and ASUC External Affairs Vice President Derek Imai in response to the California State Auditor’s identification of Blum as the regent who sent “‘inappropriate letters of support’ as part of the UC admissions process,” according to the letter. The letter also included the officials’ viewpoints regarding the audit’s recommendations for future university application processes.
“We had a conversation with some UC systemwide student leaders from the UC Student Association, and the end result was this letter where we gave our perspective on the audit’s specific recommendations,” said Josh Lewis, chief of staff for the ASUC Office of Academic Affairs.
The ASUC leaders wanted to denounce the report’s findings and ensure that both campuswide and UC systemwide administrators knew they were “very alarmed” by the report, Lewis added.
Lewis added that to draft the letter, the ASUC executives reached out to other student government leaders across the UC system and had conversations regarding the appropriate response from campus. The end result was the publication of the official letter to the regents.
Despite discussions with other UC student government leaders, Lewis said the statement is “very much Berkeley specific” and was representative of UC Berkeley ASUC officials’ perspectives.
In addition to calling for Blum’s immediate resignation, the letter also commented on the audit’s recommendations.
“We support many of the audit’s recommendations including requiring all campuses to establish proficiency standards for application reviewers and making sure reviewers are consistent with their ratings,” the letter states. “Additionally, conducting regular audits of the admissions practices at the undergraduate UC campuses going forward will help uphold the integrity of the University of California’s admissions.”
According to the letter, however, the officials are in “strong opposition” against language used in some of the audit’s recommendations. The letter alleges the recommendation to establish predetermined criteria for applicants to be admitted contains “extremely vague” language and that another recommendation “takes a regressive approach to academic equity by centering admissions on only a ‘merit-based admissions process.’”
Imai said in an email that while officials have not received a response from the Board of Regents, Chancellor Carol Christ made “positive remarks” about the letter.
“The chances of being accepted to the prestigious UC schools should not be dependent upon wealth, access to resources, and networks,” Imai said in the email. “I hope that the UC responds appropriately to this issue by truly valuing student experiences and strengthening their holistic review.”