The balance tips at the University of California

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A milestone was reached this year, as the 10 campus University of California system for the first time will see Asians become the dominant student ethnicity, outnumbering whites in the freshman class just admitted for the Fall. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Asian Americans make up 36 percent of the record 55,242 freshmen admitted for the fall term, compared with 35.6 percent for whites, according to figures released by the UC president's office.

Factors behind the shift include higher numbers of Asian high school students, the growing number of Asian American public high school students who apply to UC, and the high eligibility of Asian American students based on high school coursework and test scores.

This really no surprise. The most elite campuses have had Asians in a plurality for quite some time. The flagship Berkeley campus has had Asians as the largest group since 1993. It is matter of meritocracy, albeit one still in thrall to indirect race preferences, officially outlawed by California's voters but indirectly implemented through mandatory essays on the hardships students have overcome, and minimizing the weight assigned to SAT scores.

Unfortunately, the press is doing its best to obscure the realities. The Chronicle, for example, describes African Americans, American Indians and Chicano/Latinos as "underrepresented students" but not whites. Blacks comprise 6.7% of California's population (and a larger share of the college age population) and account for 3.5% of UC students. Whites comprise 59.5% of California's population (and a smaller share of the college age cohort), and account for 37.5% of the UC admits this year. Are both groups not "under—represented minorities"? Blacks have 51% of their population share admitted, and whites have 63%, but adjusting for age demographics would bring the two figures closer together. How can one be under—represented and the other not?

The situation for blacks has many advocates calling the situation a crisis. The Los Angeles Times consults a learned professor:

Darnell Hunt, a UCLA sociology professor who heads the campus' Bunche Center for African American Studies, said school officials were not doing enough to recruit and admit qualified black students. Hunt pointed to UC Berkeley, which managed to increase the proportion of African American students in its admitted class this year, to 3.3% from 3%.

"Obviously, something is out of whack here," said Hunt, whose center is studying UC's admissions as part of a five—year project exploring the challenges facing black students.

The last thing I would want is a system of racial preferences for whites. Better to discard all consideration of race, and let the smartest kids in. Follow the law that the voters overwhelmingly approved in a referendum.

My own son enrolls in UC Berkeley in a couple of months. I don't care that he will be a racial minority (31.8%) on campus. His conservative politics will make him a much more under—represented minority than his race.

Thomas Lifson  4 21 06

A milestone was reached this year, as the 10 campus University of California system for the first time will see Asians become the dominant student ethnicity, outnumbering whites in the freshman class just admitted for the Fall. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Asian Americans make up 36 percent of the record 55,242 freshmen admitted for the fall term, compared with 35.6 percent for whites, according to figures released by the UC president's office.

Factors behind the shift include higher numbers of Asian high school students, the growing number of Asian American public high school students who apply to UC, and the high eligibility of Asian American students based on high school coursework and test scores.

This really no surprise. The most elite campuses have had Asians in a plurality for quite some time. The flagship Berkeley campus has had Asians as the largest group since 1993. It is matter of meritocracy, albeit one still in thrall to indirect race preferences, officially outlawed by California's voters but indirectly implemented through mandatory essays on the hardships students have overcome, and minimizing the weight assigned to SAT scores.

Unfortunately, the press is doing its best to obscure the realities. The Chronicle, for example, describes African Americans, American Indians and Chicano/Latinos as "underrepresented students" but not whites. Blacks comprise 6.7% of California's population (and a larger share of the college age population) and account for 3.5% of UC students. Whites comprise 59.5% of California's population (and a smaller share of the college age cohort), and account for 37.5% of the UC admits this year. Are both groups not "under—represented minorities"? Blacks have 51% of their population share admitted, and whites have 63%, but adjusting for age demographics would bring the two figures closer together. How can one be under—represented and the other not?

The situation for blacks has many advocates calling the situation a crisis. The Los Angeles Times consults a learned professor:

Darnell Hunt, a UCLA sociology professor who heads the campus' Bunche Center for African American Studies, said school officials were not doing enough to recruit and admit qualified black students. Hunt pointed to UC Berkeley, which managed to increase the proportion of African American students in its admitted class this year, to 3.3% from 3%.

"Obviously, something is out of whack here," said Hunt, whose center is studying UC's admissions as part of a five—year project exploring the challenges facing black students.

The last thing I would want is a system of racial preferences for whites. Better to discard all consideration of race, and let the smartest kids in. Follow the law that the voters overwhelmingly approved in a referendum.

My own son enrolls in UC Berkeley in a couple of months. I don't care that he will be a racial minority (31.8%) on campus. His conservative politics will make him a much more under—represented minority than his race.

Thomas Lifson  4 21 06