UC system backs returning affirmative action to admissions process

A college applicant’s racial background and gender are one step closer to –once again – being a key factor for being admitted to the University of California system.

The UC Board of Regents voted Monday to unanimously endorse a state constitutional amendment which would allow race and gender to be considered for admissions, known as affirmative action.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA 5) would repeal Proposition 209, which banned race and gender admission considerations, in 1996.

“There is amazing momentum for righting the wrongs caused by centuries of systemic racism in our country,” said Board Chair John A. Perez in a statement. “The UC Board of Regents’ votes to endorse ACA 5 and to repeal Proposition 209 plays a part in that effort.

“As we continue to explore all the University’s opportunities for action, I am proud UC endorsed giving California voters the chance to erase a stain, support opportunity and equality and repeal Proposition 209.”

The UC Office of the President said that Proposition 209 has challenged the UC’s efforts to be equitable and inclusive in its admissions process.

“It makes little sense to exclude any consideration of race in admissions when the aim of the University’s holistic process is to fully understand and evaluate each applicant through multiple dimensions,” said UC President Janel Napolitano in a statement.

“Proposition 209 has forced California public institutions to try to address racial inequality without factoring in race, even where allowed by federal law. The diversity of our university and higher education institutions across California, should – and must – represent the rich diversity of our state.”

ACA 5 passed the Assembly with a 60-14 vote, clearing the needed two-thirds requirement.

One Republican – Tom Lackey of Palmdale – voted to approve ACA 5.

The amendment moves over to the Senate, where it will need to pass with a two-thirds vote before June 25.

If it is approved, voters will determine its fate in the Nov. 3 general election. ACA 5 will require a simple majority vote to pass.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at