Report: UCLA engaging in illegal, race-based admissions process for med school

Race-based admissions policies at California’s public universities have been illegal since voters banned them via ballot measure in 1996.

UCLA’s medical school is still continuing students based on race instead of grades and test scores despite the practice of race-based affirmative action being illegal in California since 1996, according to a report from the Washington Free Beacon. 

While the medical school’s admissions committee rarely talks about race outright, Jennifer Lucero, the dean of admissions, often uses terms like “disadvantaged” and says students should represent the diversity of California, despite other candidates having better metrics. 


By the numbers: UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine receives around 14,000 applications annually, and last year the university accepted only 173 students – a 1.3 percent acceptance rate. 

  • The average admitted student has a GPA of 3.8 and sits in the 88th percentile for the Medical College Admissions Test score. 

The big picture: Lucero started in her role in June 2020. Since then, UCLA has turned into a “failed medical school,” one former admissions staff member told the Free Beacon. 

  • “We want racial diversity so badly, we’re willing to cut corners to get it,” the professor told the publication. 
  • Just three years after Lucero was hired, UCLA fell from sixth to 18th place in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for medical research. 
  • In some years, more than 50 percent of the students that Lucero admitted failed standardized tests on emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics, according to the report. 
  • The Free Beacon reported that only around five percent of students fail each test nationally, the rates at UCLA are around 50 percent in some subjects, coinciding with a steep drop in the number of Asian students admitted to the school. 

Go deeper: Along with the admissions changes, UCLA also altered its curriculum in 2020 to give more time for research and community service and cut preclinical curriculum from two years to one. 

  • That means students are spending hours every week taking “Structural Racism and Health Equity,” which includes topics like “fatphobia.” 

What they’re saying: According to the Free Beacon, Lucero exploded in anger when discussing a Black candidate in 2021 who had grades and test scores far below the UCLA average. 

  • When others on the admissions committee brought their concerns forward, Lucero said, “Did you not know African-American women are dying at a higher rate than everybody else?” Lucero added that the scores shouldn’t matter because “we need more people like this in the medical school.” 
  • One member of the admissions committee told the Free Beacon, “I have students on their rotation who don’t know anything. People get in and they struggle.” 
  • A professor told the Free Beacon, “I don’t know how some of these students are going to be junior doctors. Faculty are seeing a shocking decline in knowledge of medical students.”
  • Another committee member told the Free Beacon that the bar for underrepresented minorities is “as low as you could possibly imagine. It completely disregards grades and achievements.” 
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