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Debating Prop 16: Should Voters Restore Affirmative Action To California’s Constitution?

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Among the slew of measures on the November ballot is Proposition 16, which would erase the ban on affirmative action at public institutions from California’s constitution. That ban was put in place when voters approved Proposition 209 in 1996.

Southern California Public Radio will host an online event on Wednesday evening to lay out the basics of Prop 16 and to hear from experts on both sides of the debate.

Prop 16 opponents warn the change would put a person’s race ahead of merit in situations such as college admissions. Prop 16 supporters say California’s ban on affirmative action is a kind of systemic racism that’s keeping Blacks and Latinos out of higher education.

The event will include an interview with Lourdes Morales, Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst with the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, who wrote an analysis of Prop 16.

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“It repeals those prohibitions that were established by 209,” she said, “and therefore gives the discretion to local governments and the state to institute policies that do consider those policies.”

A Prop 16 victory would not, for example, mandate affirmative action in college admissions. Those decisions would be left to the UC Regents or California State University trustees, who would have to develop policies and action plans to bring back affirmative action.

Private colleges and universities are not affected by the ban on affirmative action and many use race and ethnicity for admissions.

Wednesday’s event begins at 6:30 p.m. RSVP here.

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