28 April 2006

Comparative Media Studies 101

Some ill-informed, misguided, and habitually aggrieved students at UCLA held a protest yesterday.

The event was covered by both the Daily Bruin and LATimes.

There are some interesting discrepancies between the two articles

According to UCLA admissions statistics, 15.6 percent of underrepresented minority students who applied for fall 2005 were admitted, while this year the percentage of underrepresented minority admits dropped to 14.3.

UCLA administrators blamed the drop, from 16.5% last year to 15.2% this year, on Proposition 209. The 1996 voter-approved initiative bars the state's public colleges and other agencies from considering race in admissions or employment.

Also I noticed this little nugget regarding spelling

Student groups represented in Kerckhoff Grand Salon included the USAC president office, the Muslim Student Association, the African Student Union, the American Indian Student Association, the Asian Pacific Coalition, Samahang Pilipino, Queer Alliance and the Vietnamese Student Union.

Jenny Wood, president of the Undergraduate Student Assn., said she and the rest of the workgroup are studying Proposition 209 and its effect on admissions. A number of African American students came to Thursday's rally dressed in black — a statement of "mourning for the brothers and sisters who weren't admitted," said Karume James, chairman of the college's Afrikan Student Union.

And it's not just the students pushing for this stupidity, administration officials also think that state law, passed by an overwhelming majority of voters, and upheld in subsequent court challenges, shouldn't apply

One of the main complaints of protestors was the restrictive nature of Proposition 209, a measure passed by California voters in 1996 which eliminated race as a factor in university admissions.

Janina Montero, vice chancellor of student affairs who attended the rally, said administrators empathize with student concerns over the law.

"The constraints of Proposition 209 are excruciatingly rigid ... and that makes it hard to back good faith statements by the administration," Montero said in reference to stated goals from administrators and University of California officials to increase underrepresented minority admissions.

"Prop. 209 is excruciatingly rigid," said Janina Montero, UCLA's vice chancellor of student affairs. "We share the concern. This is a tremendous and painful moment for all of us."

What the protestors don't mention, is that admissions at UC campuses system wide of 'underrepresented' minorities hasn't dipped as much at all campuses, and are doing just fine. If they aren't getting into UCLA, so what, UCR, UCI, UCSD, UCSB, UCD, are all fine schools. If they are so concerned that racial set asides aren't being considered, most private schools still use race as a factor in admission in California, so apply to Stanford, USC, Claremont, or Pepperdine.

Prop 209 was passed 10 years ago when many of these whiny kids were still snot nosed grade schoolers. Their peers who didn't join them at the more prestigious UCs knew before hand, and throughout most of their academic career, that if they want in, they'd have to get in based solely on the merits of their scholarship.

Somehow for this crowd, that's a bad thing.

Also I'm really fascinated that the LATimes version of the story chooses to spell Afrikan, with a K.


bill said...

In the LA Times defense I believe they are just repeating how the group itself spells its name.

from the LA Times article: The proportion of underrepresented minorities in the UC system rose to 21.7%, up from 20.6% last year.

Admission is up, what's the problem? They're protesting a one year drop of 1.3%? According to wiki, UCLA has an undergraduate enrollment of 23,000. Using the higher LA Times numbers, 16.5% of that is 3795 students. This year's 15.2% equals 3496. That's a drop of only 299 students. Show me a multi-year trend and maybe I'll interested. But complaining about a single year barely noticeable bump is like arguing for global warming because you wore sandels on March 15 instead of last year's March 28.

bill said...

My apologies. You are right and the LA Times is wrong.