The University of California Board of Regents was recently criticized for its new admissions plan passed in February, which interest groups claim unfairly affects Asian & Pacific Islander applicants.
The plan, which eliminates the SAT II as a requirement to be considered, is intended to decrease the number of applications denied consideration for reasons that could be due to poor advising.
Recently, Asian American interest groups and legislators criticized the plan for what they say is a disproportionate and unfair effect on Asian & Pacific Islander applicants. According to a 2007 California Postsecondary Education Commission study, the plan could cause up to a 7 percent decrease in admitted Asian Americans while increasing the proportion of other groups. Interest groups urged the university to rescind the plan until further consideration and more public input could be sought.
Despite the criticism, the admissions change remains a fair and necessary modification to a policy that previously discounted qualified but poorly advised students for technical reasons.
Admissions policy in a public university shouldn’t be based on the effect it has on specific ethnic groups, as determined by a single study. It should be based on casting the widest net possible by considering as many qualified students as they can, resulting in the selection of the best pool of applicants regardless of ethnicity.
Furthermore, the criticism that the plan was rushed and secretive is unfounded. The faculty-generated plan was developed over a two-year process in the Academic Senate followed by an additional two years spent explaining and gaining support throughout the system.
The regents spent several meetings discussing the plan and even delayed the scheduled vote in order to slow the process and gain a better understanding. The issue also garnered widespread media attention in print, television and blogs before the vote. Anyone concerned or confused about the proposal was free to speak during public comment at any of the regents‘ meetings.
The plan was created and passed with the best intentions of promoting fairness, accessibility and openness – something all applicants can appreciate.