Oh Say, Can UC?

The University of California, now with 10 campuses, long has been hailed as one of the world’s greatest research universities. Students, parents, and in particular distinguished UC alumni, might check out what is going now, as UC bosses “relax” admission requirements for fall 2020 “and future years as applicable,” as the office of the UC President recently announced.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is a disaster of historic proportions disrupting every aspect of our lives, including education for high school students, among others,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano.” Quick to copy was UC Board of Regents Chairman John Pérez.

“We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” said Pérez. “By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors—including suspending the use of the SAT—for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students.”

The University of California serves the top tier of California’s high-school graduates. Many who scored well on the SAT, achieved a high GPA, and went on to professional careers might wonder how the SAT suddenly became an “artificial barrier.” To issue a proclamation like that, aspiring scholars might think, this regent chairman must be incredibly wise and highly qualified.

Notables from former U.S. labor secretary Hilda Solis and Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to California Governor Gray Davis have hailed Pérez. He is, after all, a graduate of UC Berkeley, the most coveted campus in the UC system.

Except that turns out to be false.

As Lance Williams of California Watch reported in 2011, Pérez was admitted to Berkeley in 1987 and pursued a major in Chicano Studies, a non-discipline based on the racist tract La Raza Cosmica, by the late Mexican education minister Jose Vasconcelos. The raza is the Ibero-Indian race, which Vasconcelos contended would surpass those indolent blacks, stupid whites, and unmotivated “mongols,” and displace all those Yankee “anglos.” Scholars might wonder why a great university would harbor such racist junkthought.

Pérez pursued this major until 1990, when he left UC Berkeley without graduating and took a job with the painters’ union. Official biographies and newspaper articles continued to proclaim Pérez a UC Berkeley grad, and the Democrat won election to the state assembly in 2008, rising to the powerful position of speaker the following year. Pérez’s false claim was then exposed but it proved no obstacle to further advancement.

In 2014, years after the fraud was exposed, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Pérez to the UC Board of Regents, and in May 2019 the University of California elevated him to his current position. Just so prospective students and their parents know, the UC regents are now headed by a college dropout who was never an academic or educator in any meaningful sense. That’s a strange move for a supposedly great university, but on the other hand, UC President Janet Napolitano was never an academic, educator, or scholar, either.

Napolitano is a lawyer who got her start in the campaign to discredit Clarence Thomas and somehow became governor of Arizona and then secretary of Homeland Security. As Napolitano hiked tuition, California’s state auditor caught her hiding a slush fund of $175 million. Napolitano remained in office, setting up a  $25.2 million aid package for students who are not even supposed to be in the country.

That violates Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, which voters approved in 1996. The measure eliminated race and gender preferences in state education, employment, and contracting. Assemblymembers Shirley Weber and Mike Gipson are now trying to overturn Prop. 209 through Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, the “California Act for Economic Prosperity.” The push to nix the SAT and “relax” admission requirements dovetails nicely with that quest, and Napolitano approves.

Pérez and Napolitano would exploit a pandemic to turn back the clock to the days of state-sponsored racial and ethnic discrimination. Millennials and such may be unaware of how things went down.

The medical school at UC Davis twice rejected highly qualified Allan Bakke, a Vietnam veteran, in favor of lesser qualified minority candidates, for whom the school had reserved 16 percent of the entering class. This was supposedly to remedy past discrimination, but Bakke had not discriminated against anyone. This person of no-color only wanted admission based on his academic merits.

In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Bakke’s favor, but California’s state universities continued to employ a quota system of racial and ethnic preferences. UC bosses now seek to override the voice of the people and bring back that system of state-sponsored discrimination. If anyone thought that is strange behavior for a great university, it would be hard to blame them.

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