Jewish World Review Sept. 27, 2002 / 21 Tishrei, 5763
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | It's back to the galleys for me -- the University of California at Los Angeles starts fall-quarter classes this week. I'm expecting to see one big change when I go to classes this Friday: a more "diverse student body," at least in terms of skin color. The campus population will be more diverse in terms of intellectual attainment as well: According to a July 12 Wall Street Journal article, UCLA is closing the gap between the haves and have-nots by admitting have-no-qualifications minorities over meritorious students.
The new University of California admissions criteria include "comprehensive review." The "comprehensive review" considers "life challenges" -- obstacles students have overcome. Being black or Hispanic is an automatic admissions slip -- you've faced racism and discrimination. Being white, Asian or Jewish means you're going to community college.
The diversity police believe that minorities live in a society that is designed to oppress them. The UC heads disdain school vouchers or any other type of parental school choice. Therefore, it becomes the job of the UC system to remedy the wrongs of the primary educational system. And the UC system thus continues its descent down the toilet because -- to the powers that be -- the intellectual quality of the student body is less critical than how diverse the student body looks in UC brochures.
The best way to gauge the new admissions system is to look at some of the new UC students admitted under it -- and those excluded by it. As The Wall Street Journal reported, Stanley Park, a Korean applicant to UCLA and UC Berkeley, scored 1,500 out of 1,600 on his SATs; Park's mother had breast cancer, and Park is poor. Blanca Martinez, a Latina, faced identical "life challenges" but scored only 1,110 on her SATs. Park was rejected from UCLA, while Martinez will become a Bruin. Another new UCLA Bruin is Susana Pena, who scored a dismal 940 on the SAT. (You get 400 points on the SAT for merely writing your name and Social Security number on the test.)
The UC board must feel that blacks and Hispanics are incapable of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. They must think that Asians and Jews have some genetic predisposition to success, considering that both are minorities and have experienced racism, yet neither group gains any advantage from their "life challenges."
It's not as if the UC system is doing unqualified students any favors, either. If it insists on throwing bad students into the deep end of the academic pool, it should be no surprise when the students drown. And drown they do. According to statistics quoted by black talk show host Larry Elder, the UC dropout rate for students admitted under affirmative action from 1983 to 1987 was nearly 50 percent; for competing students admitted on merit alone, the dropout rate was only 23 percent.
The "comprehensive review" system is a true insult to Hispanics and blacks who do work hard to get out of bad situations. As a student, I have heard both black/Hispanic and white/Asian/Jewish students make dumb comments in class. But the looks that the black/Hispanic students get when they make silly remarks are infinitely more condescending. Why? Not because the other students are racist -- this is college, and racism is anathema. It's because if a black or Hispanic student is dumb, everyone assumes that person got into college because of race.
There is no incentive for achievement from the inner-city students. The top 4 percent of every public high school are automatically admitted to the UC system. Under "comprehensive review," even achieving top-level status at a bad high school is unnecessary. Just come prepared with a load of excuses.
The system itself promotes fraud. Why would any sane Asian, white or Jewish candidate tell the truth about his or her upbringing if doing so means losing a spot on campus to an under-qualified victim?
If I applied to UCLA today, I'd probably be rejected -- I'm a middle-class Jewish male from a private school. My nearly 16-year-old sister wants to go to UCLA. She'll ace the SATs next year, but it may be futile. I've advised her to write on her application that she is a Hispanic inner-city youngster who hears gunshots every night outside her window; that her classmates are all drug pushers, but she volunteers at a homeless shelter every night; that she has to study in the closet because my parents work in a sweatshop and can't afford electricity.
She says she won't do it because it's false. But if she wants to get into UCLA, she may not have a choice.
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