Chancellor Gary S. May, the nine other University of California chancellors and UC President Janet Napolitano sent this letter to the UC Board of Regents on June 12.
As individuals and leaders of the University of California, the crown jewel of higher education, we stand in solidarity in expressing our strong support for Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, or ACA 5, the proposed constitutional amendment that would rescind Proposition 209, which prohibits use of race or gender as a factor in our admissions decisions.
At this moment, our nation and many institutions are beginning the long overdue effort to confront systemic racism and its harmful effects. The University of California has always strived to be equitable, inclusive, informed, and proactive in addressing these shortcomings at our public colleges and universities, and beyond. The adoption of Proposition 209 has put obstacles in place which has made this effort even more challenging.
In that spirit, we stand behind ACA 5 and urge state leaders to give California voters the opportunity to resolve a question of profound importance and implications. We believe the measure aligns with the spirit of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which facilitates student access to an affordable, high-quality public education.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that schools may use race as a factor in admissions decisions in certain circumstances, Proposition 209 categorically prohibits California universities from any such consideration, even if there is a compelling reason and carefully tailored approach for doing so. Attempting to address racial inequality without actually considering race has proven to be ineffective, reduces higher education opportunity for too many Californians, and, in turn, diminishes the pipeline of qualified candidates from institutionally underrepresented groups for admissions and, eventually, faculty positions.
We are united in our support of ACA 5 and encourage the board to endorse this measure and the repeal of Proposition 209 so voters can rightly decide where California stands on affirmative action. We thank the board for taking up this critical matter.
Interim Chancellor, UC Merced
Carol T. Christ
Chancellor, UC Berkeley
Chancellor, UC Irvine
Chancellor, UC San Francisco
Chancellor, UC San Diego
Chancellor, UC Santa Cruz
Gary S. May
Chancellor, UC Davis
Chancellor, UC Riverside
Chancellor, UC Santa Barbara