In 1996 the State of California passed Proposition 209, which banned state schools from considering race, gender, ethnicity or national origins as part of their admissions process. This ban severely affected several state schools in California, including UCLA. UCLA’s black student enrollment has decreased since the passing of Proposition 209. Just in time for the November 30th application deadline, a group of black students are speaking out about the lack of diversity at UCLA, particularly when it comes to black male students.
Sy Stokes, a third year African-American studies student who identifies as black, Cherokee and Chinese and cousin of Arthur Ashe, and other black male students took their message to YouTube to make people aware about UCLA’s issue.
When you look at the fall 2013 enrollment numbers, out of 42,163 total students, only 1,635 were black students. Stokes points out that black males make up 3.3 percent of the male student population, and that 65 percent of those black males are undergraduate athletes.
In 2006, in an interview with NPR, UCLA sociologist Darnell Hunt said Proposition 209 is just part of the problem. Hunt blames UCLA’s admission process, which doesn’t take into account a student’s background. Hunt also said UC-Berkeley, which has a higher percentage of black students, takes into account other things besides SAT scores and has a more holistic approach when reviewing a student’s file.
“They look at grades and SAT scores in the context of the high school the student went to,” he says. “They also look at the numbers in the context of the family situation.”
No one has a clearly defined solution to UCLA’s problem, but it may help if the university took into account suggestions made by Hunt.