The systemwide Assembly of the Academic Senate last week gave strong approval to a proposal for admitting students to the University of California through a comprehensive review process.
The faculty body, meeting at UCLA on Oct. 31, voted 42-0, with three abstentions, to endorse the proposal, which would broaden the evaluation criteria for undergraduate applicants and guarantee that no student is denied admission without a review of his or her file.
"This is a very historic day," said Chand Viswanathan, chair of the UC Academic Council and an electrical engineering professor at UCLA. "The senate is very strongly committed and wants to take back complete control of the admissions policy. In that sense, I believe we have achieved a milestone today."
The UC Board of Regents is expected to make a final decision on the measure Nov. 14-15 in San Francisco. However, during a preliminary discussion in October, some regents questioned whether the public would perceive the comprehensive review process as fair, since decisions would not be based exclusively on quantifiable factors.
Under the policy, students are still eligible for the UC in the same ways they currently do, based on high school grades and standardized test scores, or by being in the top 4 percent of their high school class. Those who meet basic UC eligibility standards would continue to be assured admission to a UC campus. Comprehensive review wouldn't change that, but it could affect who gets into which campus.
Currently, each campus uses a tiered structure and admits 50-75 percemt of its undergraduate applicants solely based on academic criteria. The remaining applications get a "comprehensive review" - taking into account factors such as community service, athletic ability and socioeconomic background, in addition to scholastic achievement. Under this new proposal, that tiered system would disappear.
Faculty expressed concern over the costs of implementing comprehensive review. The state has allocated $750,000 in its budget this year specifically for this purpose, Perry said. But, she added, there are no guarantees of future funding.
John Edmond, chair of UCLA's Academic Senate and a neuroscientist, said that lack of funding would be a serious problem, but he expressed confidence that UC President Richard Atkinson is committed to preserving that money. "The most important thing is to convince the regents that we will have a quality program and that the faculty can be trusted to do the very best job to select the very best students," he said.
To further view the faculty recommendation, see www.ucop.edu/senate/assembly/oct2001/.
Marina Dundjerski is a staff member of the staff and faculty newspaper UCLA Today.