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Cal Frosh Show Effects Of End To Preferences In Admissions

Three University of California campuses are showing dramatic declines in the number of black, Hispanic and American Indian freshmen admitted to the first fall class since affirmative action was dropped.

The decline, at the San Diego, Davis and Irvine campuses, comes even though total applications by ethnic minorities are up this year, according to figures released this week.

UC San Diego student Maria Salgado, who is involved in telephone recruitment of applicants, routinely hears applicants ask “How many of us are there?” Many are dismayed by the answer, she said.

“Most of the time they prefer to go to community college where there are more students like them,” she said. “It’s hard enough for them to get accepted; it’s another obstacle having them actually stay here.”

UC Riverside bucked the trend, showing large increases in minority admissions. And the admissions picture was mixed at UC Santa Cruz.

In a statement Monday, UC President Richard Atkinson cautioned that a “comprehensive systemwide overview” of all the admission figures is required before any conclusions can be reached.

“We took great care to extend the promise of educational opportunity to students of all backgrounds.”

In Sacramento, Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, a Los Angeles Democrat who described himself as a product of an affirmative action program at UCLA, said: “You have to have a chill go through your spine. This isn’t Mississippi. This isn’t the 1950s. This is California and California should be a place where opportunity abounds.”

The UC Board of Regents voted in 1995 to stop using ethnicity and gender as considerations for admitting students. The ban went into effect for graduate students last year and for this fall’s incoming freshmen.

According to the first round of undergraduate admission figures:

At UC San Diego, 45 percent fewer blacks were admitted for the fall, 31 percent fewer Hispanics, and 37 percent fewer American Indians. White student admissions also declined 9.8 percent and Asian Americans declined 3.2 percent.

At UC Davis, 36 percent fewer blacks were admitted, 20 percent fewer Hispanics, 18 percent fewer American Indians, and 9.8 percent fewer whites. Only Asian Americans showed an increase, 8.3 percent.

At UC Irvine, 8.6 percent fewer Hispanics were admitted, 19 percent fewer blacks, 14 percent fewer American Indians, 10 percent fewer whites, and 1.5 percent fewer Asian Americans.

UC Riverside was the only campus to show increases in all ethnic groups. It had a 75.9 percent increase in the number of American Indians admitted, 47 percent increase in Hispanics, 41.9 percent increase in blacks, 13.7 percent for whites and 12.9 percent for Asian Americans.

Tags: statistics