LA Times

University of California regents Wednesday bemoaned what they called disappointing progress on efforts to increase diversity among students and faculty at the system’s 10 campuses.

Last month, UC officials announced a 36.7% increase in admissions offers to Latinos and a 31.9% jump in offers to African Americans. Those improvements were part of a significant boost in admissions of California students.

Overall, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in freshman classes across UC campuses has nearly doubled in the last 15 years, from 15% in 1999 to 28% in 2014.

But UC officials who presented an annual report on diversity to regents at their three-day meeting here acknowledged making less progress with graduate students and faculty. In the fall of 2014, the percentage of African American tenure-track faculty members at UC campuses ranged from 2% to 4%, and for Latinos it was 2% to 12%.

Why is there an annual report on diversity? In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, which strictly forbids racial or ethnic considerations.

The text of Proposition 209 was drafted by Cal State anthropology professor Glynn Custred and California Association of Scholars Executive Director Thomas Wood. Its passage amended the California constitution to include a new section (Section 31 of Article I), which now reads:

(a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(b) This section shall apply only to action taken after the section’s effective date.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex which are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as invalidating any court order or consent decree which is in force as of the effective date of this section.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.

(f) For the purposes of this section, “state” shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the state itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the state.

(g) The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of then-existing California antidiscrimination law.

(h) This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the United States Constitution, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the United States Constitution permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.[14]