chapter  5
23 Pages

Access and Diversity at the University of California in the Post-Affi rmative Action Era

ByMichal Kurlaender, Elizabeth Friedmann, Tongshan Chang

Affi rmative action policies came under fi erce legal and political attack in the early 1990s. Individuals and several organized groups that viewed any use of race in admissions or employment decisions as reverse discrimination started taking their complaints to the lower courts, 2 and the diversity rationale established under Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) was once again put to the legal test (see Chapter 1 in this volume for an overview of the legal history of affi rmative action). During the 1990s, race-conscious policies were also challenged in the court of public opinion, and several states ultimately abandoned the practice. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, which terminated consideration of race in public education, employment, and contracting. Voters also banned affi rmative action in Washington (1998), Michigan (2006), Nebraska (2008), and Arizona (2010), with a failed attempt in Colorado (2008). Affi rmative action was banned in Texas as a result of the Hopwood v. Texas (1996) decision. 3 Oklahoma’s 2012 ban was a result of a referendum placed on the ballot by the state legislature and approved by voters, while Florida’s 1999 ban was an executive order by the governor. Amidst substantial legal and political uncertainty, many selective colleges and universities scaled back or abandoned their affi rmative action programs (Breland, Maxey, Geranand, Cumming, & Trapani, 2002; Grodsky & Kalogrides, 2008; Orfi eld & Miller, 2000).