Crisis in California: Voters' Rejection of Budget Proposals Could Halt the College Dreams of Tens of Thousands of African Americans

This past week voters in California rejected a series of budget proposals that would have limited cuts to the state’s public institutions of higher education. Now the 10-campus University of California system faces a budget cut of more than $320 million. Mark G. Yudof, president of the university system, warned of a “dramatic change in the quality and accessibility of the university.” The cuts, he said, “would have a devastating effect on the students, the faculty, and the staff of the University of California.”

The 23-campus California State University system faces cuts of $410 million. Such cuts may force the university to reduce enrollments by as many as 50,000 students.

The leaders of the California community college system announced that proposed cuts of $825 million could result in a reduction in enrollments of as many as 250,000 students. Current enrollments stand at 2.7 million students.

The budget cuts will mean rising fees that would disproportionately affect blacks and other low-income groups. Also, other outreach programs to increase student and faculty diversity will likely be subject to the budget axe.