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Number of Black Freshmen at UCLA Doubles

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Watch out, Westwood! The color spectrum in Bruinville just got ever so slightly darker. Today's L.A. Times reports that a whopping 203 black students have decided to enroll in next fall's freshman class, out of the nearly 400 that were accepted. This is a 100% increase from last year's debacle, when only about 100 black students enrolled for the fall quarter. Campus officials attribute the rise in minority enrollments to a new "holistic" admissions process and an increase in the number of private scholarships for black students.

Um. Well. We're not quite sure what to say. Go Bruins? Keep up the good work? African Americans make up about 10% of the population of Los Angeles County. We're not real good on the math stuff, but 203 students out of 4,500 total who will be enrolling in the fall works out to about...4.5%. Not bad, but there's still a ways to go.

Minority enrollments are also on the rise at UC Berkeley; blacks and Latinos have been applying to the other UCs in increased numbers as well. Ward Connerly, former UC Regent who spearheaded the call for race-blind admissions, has been continuing his meritocratic campaign across the country, however, and plans to hit up states like Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma next year.

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It's already been ten years since Prop 209 ended affirmative action at the UCs. In a perfect world, race would not be a factor in college admissions, but (sorry Mr.Connerly!), the California educational system is far from perfect. In an academic milieu where AP scores and honors classes can push GPAs into the 4.9s, usually it's students at schools without the funding for these sorts of classes that get the shaft.

In an even more perfect world, educational equity would start in kindergarten, not in college. But as long as teachers get paid half as much as doctors and lawyers do, and as long as our local, state, and national governments continue to privilege things like "national security" and "border patrol" over education for our kids, that's not going to happen either.

Although any increase in diversity at UCLA is a step in the right direction, let's hope the next ten years show some major improvement. Ten percent in 2017!

Photo by cindylu