Assessing the Damage of the 10-Year Ban on Affirmative Action at the University of California

For the first time, in 1998, admissions to undergraduate campuses of the University of California were conducted under a policy where race could not be considered as a positive factor by admissions officials. As a result, black enrollments declined. Since that time, the number of black first-year students systemwide has nearly doubled. But blacks are only 3.6 percent of all first-year students, a level that is still below the level that prevailed prior to the ban.

At some campuses of the University of California system, the black percentage of all first-year students has shown a severe decline. It appears that right-wing groups who are determined to push blacks down into second-tier institutions have succeeded. In 1977, prior to the ban on affirmative action at the University of California at Berkeley, blacks made up 7.3 percent of the entering class. This coming fall, blacks are only 3.1 percent of all entering students.