Ward Connerly Says UCLA’s “Holistic Admissions” Program Is a Proxy for Race-Sensitive Admissions

In an effort to increase diversity in the student body, the UCLA administration adopted a new admissions model that incorporates a so-called “holistic” approach which looks at academic merit in the context of a student’s position in society.

This year there were 392 African Americans admitted to UCLA, up from 249 a year ago. This is a whopping increase of 57 percent. In 2006 blacks were 2.1 percent of all students admitted to UCLA. Blacks are 3.4 percent of the students accepted for admission. Preliminary data shows that there will be 203 black freshmen at UCLA this coming fall, about twice the number as last year.

Ward Connerly, the African-American businessman who led the fight to ban race-sensitive admissions at the University of California, believes that UCLA is using the new plan simply as a means to admit more black students. He notes that black students admitted to UCLA this year had SAT scores that were on average 293 points below the average score of admitted white students. This is up from a 255 point gap last year.

Connerly points to evidence that black applicants may be the primary beneficiaries of holistic admissions. The University of California rates all high schools in the state on their academic performance on a scale of 1 to 10. Blacks from the schools with low ratings of 1 or 2 saw their acceptance rate at UCLA jump from 12 percent to 27 percent. But white students from these low-performing high schools actually had a decline in their admit rate to UCLA.

“UCLA is looking at nonacademic factors primarily for black students,” Connerly said.