State, UC Urged to Re-Evaluate Admissions Policies

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UC Berkeley and Oakland high school students took to Sproul Plaza at noon yesterday, calling for the state to maintain diversity in public universities.

Approximately 75 students cheered speakers at the rally sponsored by the student group BAMN.

In a hand-held vote, participants voiced overwhelming support for BAMN's petitions, which demand that the state and UC evaluate some policies affecting minority enrollment at public universities.

Students at the rally said the event successfully reached the ears of state officials.

"We made clear to the state of California that students in the Bay Area want the guarantee (of admission to public universities) maintained," said Hoku Jeffrey, ASUC senator for the Defend Affirmative Action Party. "We've exposed this attack and made clear we plan to defeat it."

The crux of BAMN's criticism of state policy stems from a change in the language of the state Master Plan for Education.

But here state officials disagree with BAMN.

Charles Ratliff, the principal consultant on the state's plan, maintained the student group is mistaken. There has been no significant change to the policy, and California does guarantee admission to all students who are eligible and apply, he said.

Since 1990 the Master Plan has guaranteed entering freshmen in the top tiers of their high school classes admission to the California State University system and to UC, he said.

Ratliff said that students in the top tier of their class also must meet other qualifications before receiving guaranteed admission.

"The language is clearer in the 2002 Master Plan than any previous document," Ratliff said.

Demonstrators disagreed. One called the language in the plan "deliberately ambiguous."

"If this wasn't a change in policy, why would they change the language?" said Yvette Felarca, a founding member of BAMN, who spoke at the rally.


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