When voter-approved Proposition 209 amended California’s constitution in November 1996 it prohibited colleges from granting “preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”
That proposition was reaffirmed Monday, April 2 when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a suit filed by 55 University of California applicants and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an advocacy group.
The plaintiffs’ arguments to get rid of the ban included a 2003 Supreme Court ruling allowing schools to consider an applicants’ race to increase campus diversity and a 50 percent drop in admissions of American Indian, African American and Latino students to the University of California in 2010, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
After February arguments were heard, BAMN Chair Shanta Driver told reporters “our point is the University of California has got to be able to use measures that are now barred by Prop 209 to be able to create a level playing field in the admissions system.”
She also told the gathered journalists that: “Our problem is that black and Latino and Native American students are the only people that aren’t considered in terms of who they are as individuals and in terms of how their life experiences and race and racism affect those two criteria for admissions.”
In reaffirming Prop 209, the court said it would stick to its 1997 ruling that “there was simply no doubt that Proposition 209—which amended the California Constitution to add Section 31—is constitutional,” reported the Los Angeles Times.
See full Shanta Driver interview with reporters: