On Oct. 8, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 185, which would allow UC and CSU admissions officers to consider students’ race, gender and ethnicity when accepting and rejecting potential students. This bill would have overruled Proposition 209, passed in 1996, which denies admission officers the right to consider race, gender and ethnicity. Brown said that while he agreed with the idea of the legislation, he could not give his signature. “Our constitutional system of separation of powers requires that the courts – not the Legislature – determine the limits of Proposition 209,” wrote Brown in his veto message. Furthermore, Brown said he felt signing the bill would not make a large impact on how the law was implemented. “Signing this bill is unlikely to impact how Proposition 209 is ultimately interpreted by the courts; it will just encourage the 209 advocates to file more costly and confusing lawsuits,” Brown wrote. The bill, which many see as an example of affirmative action, has caused controversy across UC and CSU campuses.
The UC Berkeley College Republicans, who are opposed to the bill, gained attention when they organized a bake sale in which the baked goods were priced depending on the customers’ race, gender and ethnicity.
“The people of California believe, as does the Berkeley College Republicans, that college admission decisions should be based on the qualifications of the applicant and the individual challenges he or she has faced, not based on his or her race. We are glad Governor Brown agrees and has chosen to respect the will of the voters,” said Shawn Lewis, President of the Berkeley College Republicans, on their website.
– Hannah Strumwasser