SCA 5 would repeal much of Prop. 209 anti-discrimination initiative

Prop. 209July 12, 2013

By Josephine Djuhana

A resolution that seeks to amend the California Constitution and undo the work of Proposition 209 for institutions of higher education is making its way through Sacramento and will likely be placed on the ballot in 2014.

SCA 5, authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, proposes “an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by amending Section 31 of Article I thereof, relating to public education.” Recently re-referred to the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments after passing the Committee on Education, the resolution specifically exempts public education institutions of higher learning from the requirements of Proposition 209.

In other words, SCA 5 allows schools to use race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin as a consideration for accepting students or hiring employees. Using such criteria currently is banned by Prop. 209, which voters passed in 1996.

Janet Chin, a media spokesperson for Sen. Hernandez’s office in West Covina, told me the resolution would take steps to “ensure that universities reflect the diversity of the state.” She said long-term benefits would include creating equal opportunity for all Californians by having a “well-trained, diverse workforce” that is needed to compete in the global economy.

“Campuses have become less diverse” since Prop. 209 passed, Chin said. “Qualified individuals have been looked over.” Since Prop. 209, she said, minorities have been “underrepresented” in universities, and SCA 5 seeks to correct this error by securing the best and brightest students.

Prop. 209 and measures of merit

Ward Connerly, founder and chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, told me Chin’s reasoning was “nonsense.” He sponsored Prop. 209.

“If they want the best and brightest, they will use merit,” Connerly said of university admissions processes. “They have the right to do that right now, free of any race consideration or discrimination.”

Connerly, a former University of California regent, highlighted higher education in the Golden State, starting with the UC system — in his words, “a very prized system” — which regularly secures the top 12.5 percent of students from California high schools. He also pointed to 23 campuses in the Cal State system, many of which, he said, were “equally as good as some UC campuses”; and to our community college system, with more than 100 college campuses across the state. “It defies logic,” he said to me, “for anyone to say that anyone in California doesn’t have a chance to get an education.”

“We’re a pluralistic society in California, probably the most on the planet,” he said. “We have to learn to treat everybody equally and not allow anybody to have any preference from any public institutions. It’s a mistake to now flirt with changing that and empowering public institutions to discriminate.”

Prop. 209, said Connerly, was the product of a very contentious battle in the state back in 1996. The ballot measure explicitly denied public institutions, including state and local governments, as well as universities, colleges and schools, the ability to discriminate against or give “preferential treatment to any individual or group in public employment, public education, or public contracting on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”

The results of Prop. 209 were robust. In fact, minority graduation rates actually increased after Prop. 209 was implemented. The measure “led to a more efficient sorting of minority students” according to research by Duke University:

“To address the robustness of the positive eects on graduation and the role of matching, we analyze unique data for all applicants and enrollees within the University of California (UC) system before and after Prop 209. The positive Prop 209 eects on minority graduation rates persist, even after controlling for observed and unobserved qualifications of UC enrollees. We present evidence that certain institutions are better at graduating more-prepared students while other institutions are better at graduating less prepared students and that these matching eects are particularly important for the bottom tail of the qualification distribution.”

The research also clearly demonstrated that students admitted with lower qualifications than their peers ended up learning less and had a drop out rate disproportionately higher than science majors.

“Sen. Hernandez is behind the times,” said Connerly. “It’s not forward-looking for him to inflict on the people of California another meaningless battle.”

Striving for diversity doesn’t solve the problem

Heather Mac Donald, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told me the UC system has “already been violating the spirit of Prop. 209 by importing obvious surrogates for race into its so-called ‘holistic’ admissions process.” The Hernandez bill, she said, would simply “open the floodgates of blatant racial references once again and allow UC to discriminate without apology.”

“There are high quality students that are not getting into these schools because there is already an informal quota,” she said.

The Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case brought national attention to similar issues. The Supreme Court recently decided in a 7-1 ruling that the federal appeals court was wrong to dismiss Abigail Noel Fisher’s case, in which she argued that the University of Texas illegally discriminated against her because of her race.

The ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy essentially stated that diversity must not be an ultimately deciding factor in university admissions processes. “The reviewing court must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity,” Kennedy wrote.

“Attaining diversity for its own sake is a nonstarter,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion. “The pursuit of diversity as an end is nothing more than impermissible ‘racial balancing.’”

The San Francisco-based Asian American Legal Foundation, in their amicus brief filing for the Fisher case, underscored the problems with having such racial quotas. Asians, they write, have “historically been, and continue to be, denied access to public schools due to overt racial and ethnic prejudice as well as ostensibly well-intentioned ‘diversity’ programs such as the program at issue here.” The brief went on to explain:

“UT Austin is engaged in racial balancing without any remedial purpose. It is similarly denying applicants access solely because they are of the ‘wrong’ race or ethnicity. And it is proclaiming that its good faith should excuse the fact that it is trammeling on applicants’ civil rights.”

The same is essentially happening in California’s higher education system behind closed doors.

In regards to admissions, Ward Connelly echoed the majority opinion of the Supreme Court and said officers must “use neutral measures first” and “exhaust all avenues of race neutrality” before considering employing policies of racial preferences.

But exempting universities, colleges and schools from the requirements of Prop. 209 would do exactly the opposite.

Connerly and other critics insist that SCA 5 would create the framework for an even broader scope of racial discrimination against qualified students, regardless of their achievements or merit.


Write a comment
  1. Queeg
    Queeg 12 July, 2013, 07:31

    Utopia is in reach!

    Reply this comment
    • Vicky
      Vicky 25 February, 2014, 13:56

      People should know that international students from Asian countries bring in the money to support these schools.

      Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 12 July, 2013, 08:41

    “She said long-term benefits would include creating equal opportunity for all Californians by having a “well-trained, diverse workforce” that is needed to compete in the global economy.”
    More BS baloney…yada..yada…yada……209 isn’t going anywhere, let them put it on the ballot-DOA, I guarantee it.

    Reply this comment
  3. Hondo
    Hondo 13 July, 2013, 08:07

    You can expect to see Rachael Jeantel at a university near you if this thing passes. I say we change all the street signs to ‘cursive’ so she won’t be able to find her way to school.

    Reply this comment
  4. Jim
    Jim 13 July, 2013, 13:29

    Why am I not surprised?

    Reply this comment
  5. HT Chao
    HT Chao 12 February, 2014, 18:26

    Why is it always those politicians with Asian surnames working against the interest of Asian community? What is wrong with these people?

    Reply this comment
    • Yao
      Yao 23 February, 2014, 06:42

      Because she is a 2-faced and a fake. This clearly is discrimination to Asians who study hard to EARN their way to being admitted.

      Reply this comment
    • crazy MMer
      crazy MMer 13 March, 2014, 17:42

      Because you voted them in office. Vote out all incumbents!

      Reply this comment
  6. Carol
    Carol 16 February, 2014, 11:41

    Why is race even put on the application at all?

    Reply this comment
  7. Lucy
    Lucy 18 February, 2014, 12:07

    You are right! Why should we put race there?

    Reply this comment
    • Gurix
      Gurix 27 February, 2014, 15:08

      Sometimes (read mot of the times) you name is enough to guess your race. So even if the race is not there on the form, they can still discriminate.

      Reply this comment
  8. kenny
    kenny 19 February, 2014, 00:01

    it is unfair for asia kids.
    Not good law.

    Reply this comment
    • Andy
      Andy 20 February, 2014, 19:40

      I agree with you Lucy, it is unconstitutional for people to be discriminating Asians or any other race.

      Reply this comment
      • Andy
        Andy 20 February, 2014, 19:42

        As you may remember (at least some of you) the U.S. constitution states that EVERYONE gets EQUAL rights.

        Reply this comment
  9. Chris
    Chris 19 February, 2014, 22:15

    We should admit less international student and give those quote for domestic student. Academic should be merit based and should Not be race based. How could US compete with the rest of world if we deny our high quality candidates to get the best education in the united state.

    Reply this comment
    • Harsh
      Harsh 25 February, 2014, 12:14

      You can beat the rest of the world if your high quality candidates can better than the best international students who apply for education in the US! People come here with dreams that could be fulfilled by studying at the best schools. If you want to deny that, then do so. Pls keep in mind long long ago people crossed over oceans to get here. You are a product of such people. You can’t be so discriminatory!

      Reply this comment
  10. Jenwibi
    Jenwibi 20 February, 2014, 08:07

    What are the ethnic group of people that are “Qualified individuals have been looked over”? If the “minorities” were capable to attend the US system, why are they begin “underrepresented” in universities. Those are reference by what Janet Chin stated in the article. Senator Ed Hernandez, who introduced an amendment to California’s Constitution SAC 5, serves as Chair of the San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus. If you looked at his education background, he never attended to any UC systems. Perhaps he was the over looked qualified individuals that he was reference to.
    Do you all know that Senator Hernandez has been assigned to provide constituent services to Arcadia, Temple City and San Gabriel until the 2014 elections? I don’t know about all of you, but I will make sure he will not re-elected again. Let’s vote for not on SAC 5.
    If Janet Chin is reading my comments, you should be ashamed of yourself for making such statements. Were you also the over looked qualified individuals?

    Reply this comment
  11. Hans
    Hans 20 February, 2014, 19:11

    This is a wrong direction to use racial majority for their own preferences.

    Reply this comment
  12. Danny
    Danny 20 February, 2014, 22:03

    I support many initiatives that help the disadvantaged, and even the currently practiced favors given to those with lower scores but with good concerns. Compassion already work to alleviate true hardships.

    But amending constitution to allow racial and gender discrimination of innocent young people is federally illegal and shameful!

    How can an adult tell a child that she will be discriminated merit-wise for no fault of her own? Separately, it is good deed to provide financial help for the disadvantaged.

    Reply this comment
  13. Dav
    Dav 21 February, 2014, 12:06

    How smart Senator Hernandez is!
    He is trying to put a lot of far below qualified students into the UC system, only because their race is the majority. And such take that chance away from many other smart kids.

    We can imagine the future of California if this pass!

    Vote NO to SCA-5!!!!

    Reply this comment
  14. AW27
    AW27 21 February, 2014, 21:56

    Look at it this way,if even if this bill passes will it actual do any good? Asian graduation rate from UC schools are already higher than the other race, and now this bill is proposing that we should let incompetent people go to college and let the competent people sit at home with no jobs just because they are Asians. How is this fair? And what is the probability those incompetent people will graduate? Are schools going to lower their graduation academic standards? These incompetent people will just be wasting their money on school fee and be a burden to their school.
    Vote NO to SCA 5 – a bill that will ruin the future of the CA

    Reply this comment
  15. Simon Hua Lu
    Simon Hua Lu 22 February, 2014, 15:05

    NO TO SCA 5

    Reply this comment
  16. Johnson
    Johnson 22 February, 2014, 16:33

    All the Asian senators voted yes on this bill. How each senator voted is public info. Would have been nice if that info was posted.

    Reply this comment
  17. Lillian
    Lillian 22 February, 2014, 20:04

    NO to SCA-5

    Reply this comment
  18. Leslie
    Leslie 22 February, 2014, 20:06

    No to SCA-5!

    Reply this comment
  19. James
    James 23 February, 2014, 14:22

    SCA 5 violates the 4th Amendment of the US constitution, violates the Contract Clause, is against the rulings of Supreme Court decision, against all the conscience of hard-working people here in Californi and the US, defeats the very cause people like martin Luther King fought for. SCA 5 uses the very evil – the majority vote – to deprive the interest of monority groups. If one majority group can do this against other minority group on the education issue, What happens to property? what happens to liberty? Even today’s majorty may become minority in the furture, if we are tolerating SCA 5 today, how far are we from Hitler’s world in its criminal atrophy against Jewish people? Wake up, folks, whether your are Jewish, white, Indida American, Japanese American,Aferican American, or Hispanic American, we need to stop this, don’t think SCA 5 only impact certain Asian, the trends, if allowed, will eventually impact your life – by that time, all the minority interest are deprived aleady and no one is able to help you…a great society like the Untie States cannot and shall not tolerate the reverse of our history into the dark age.

    Reply this comment
  20. sharon
    sharon 24 February, 2014, 10:01

    This is brain warefare. The resulting consequences are: UC system going down hill, high tech going down hill, real estate will go down, and economic in California will drop further, and then… USA economic will go down with California. This is suisidal measure… It will reduce the competibility of United States brain power.

    Reply this comment
  21. MW
    MW 24 February, 2014, 11:10

    I don’t understand the paradox. The purpose of AA is to protect minorities, but Latinos in California are majority, they have become the largest ethnic group in California.

    Reply this comment
  22. helloterran
    helloterran 24 February, 2014, 11:11

    Thanks for speaking up against SCA-5, aka Skin Color Act. It’s the single most racist bill ever passed anywhere in this country since 1968.

    Reply this comment
  23. oldcreek
    oldcreek 24 February, 2014, 13:12

    Next step Democrats will propose a new act to mandate private sector to hire “well-trained, diverse workforce” based on their skin colors. The shamelessness of those politicians is beyond my imagination.

    Reply this comment
  24. Jingjing
    Jingjing 24 February, 2014, 13:12

    Well said, James!
    NO TO SCA 5!!!

    Reply this comment
  25. Steven
    Steven 24 February, 2014, 13:36

    Education for K-12 should be proportional to ethical populations. But higher education is not for everyone. If one is not qualified, even he/she is admitted, he/she would fail to graduate.

    Reply this comment
  26. Julia Sun
    Julia Sun 24 February, 2014, 13:42

    Higher Education should be based on intelligence and hardworking.

    Reply this comment
  27. Sean
    Sean 24 February, 2014, 15:19

    Racial discrimination should be allowed anywhere with any reason, especially when the majority group is using that against minority.

    Reply this comment
  28. Jesus
    Jesus 24 February, 2014, 22:46

    hahahaha, it looks like someone is bore and want to start a riot and war lol. SCA 5 pass through = violence and a lot of riot.

    Reply this comment
  29. Shawn
    Shawn 25 February, 2014, 22:03

    No to SCA-5. This will defies all the civil right leaders hard work and especially Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equal rights to all mankind. Despite of your race or ethnicity, we all have the same equal opportunity to pursue a higher education. This is a world of competition so may the best be the best.

    Reply this comment
  30. Andrea
    Andrea 26 February, 2014, 05:17

    What a shame to put on a bill like this! Just because you have the majority votes, you will have major privilege in higher education! The list can go on and on to everything if the same principle and strategy applied in bills made by the congressman who is supported by majority voters. See the danger? Democracy will be robbed by majority mobs. This bill not only affects Asians but affects every hardworking individuals with dreams no matter of their race. What you have–your rights to education, employment,etc. and those of your children, will be robbed someday by majority votes. Shall we not work hard but start making more babies as a fight back? This kind of ridiculous things must be stopped! It is a shame to democrats in California that it passed the Senate in the first place.

    Reply this comment
  31. Cindy
    Cindy 26 February, 2014, 06:54

    This is to allow HS dropout gangsters from Santa Ana to attend UC colleges.

    Reply this comment
  32. Tyler
    Tyler 28 February, 2014, 05:52

    This is a crap bill, you don’t see the NFL or NBA compensating their unequal race demographics by hiring Asians. Why would you do that in a school? It should be letting the best of the best go where they belong, and in this case, colleges should let the ones in with the best academics.

    Reply this comment
  33. Elaine Cheng
    Elaine Cheng 28 February, 2014, 22:25

    Janet Chin is Asian (or it sounds like it). she must not have children who want to go to college (like me)

    Reply this comment
  34. Andy
    Andy 1 March, 2014, 18:16

    TO SCA5

    Reply this comment
  35. chhnny
    chhnny 2 March, 2014, 00:09

    The worst forms of racial discrimination in this Nation have always been accompanied by straight-faced representations that discrimination helped minorities.

    — Justice Thomas of the United States Supreme Court, 2013

    More quotes against discrimination and overview of California’s History of Discrimination –

    Reply this comment
  36. chhnny
    chhnny 2 March, 2014, 00:09

    Why are we against SCA-5?

    SCA-5 is targeted against the minority Asian American community in California (14.9%).
    Classifying students based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin undermines the principle that we all should be treated equally under the law, a cornerstone of the American society.
    In the 18 years that Prop. 209 has been in effect, California has become the most diverse state in the U.S. Nothing in Prop. 209 prevents students of disadvantaged background from obtaining quality higher education.
    Students are already unfairly excluded from schools because of informal quota based on race. The UC system has “already been violating the spirit of Prop. 209 by importing obvious surrogates for race into its so-called ‘holistic’ admissions process.” SCA-5 would make this worse.
    Discrimination in college admissions actually harms the intended beneficiaries, by setting less-prepared applicants up for failure and hurting their chances at graduation and obtaining a college degree.
    Minority graduation rates increased after Prop. 209, according to a study by Duke University, partly “because of more efficient matching, with the largest improvements occurring among less-prepared students.”
    SCA-5 does not do what is needed to increase the number of black and Hispanic graduates from California colleges in the long term — increasing the quality of K-12 education for everyone.
    SCA-5 could be used to limit the number of women allowed in California public universities — in 2010, the UC system admitted 95,403 women and only 84,178 men.
    SCA-5 assumes that college admissions are a zero-sum game and does nothing to solve the root problem of insufficient educational resources — as the population continues to grow, the state needs more spaces for affordable college education.
    Children who are intelligent and hard-working deserve equal opportunity in education, regardless of their race. Our national interest is best served only if the best and the brightest of our children, regardless of their race, are given equal opportunity to pursue their educational dreams. Only a merit- based education system will enable our country to maintain its competitive advantage in the world.

    Reply this comment
  37. Suzan
    Suzan 2 March, 2014, 17:23

    Janet Chin, Asians ARE a minority. In Californian Colleges, they make up 60% of the campus, but in California they only make up 4%.

    Reply this comment
  38. Gang Men Bao
    Gang Men Bao 5 March, 2014, 12:24

    I am an Asian and fully support SCA 5. It’s time for equal representation in universities and colleges. I want to see the UC system represent the people of this great state, so that we may have a balanced, and representative diverse work force of the future.

    This would mean 50% Hispanics, 33% White, 12% Black, and then 5% Asians are admitted. It is not fair that UCLA has a 45% Asian student population, it’ls like going to a university in Chinatown. Reverse it.

    The end result is this would be so much better for Asians, as it would push them to work even harder.

    Reply this comment
  39. Juan
    Juan 7 March, 2014, 17:19

    So Democratic senator Ed Hernandez, wants us to give preferential treatment for education and employment to groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. Hmmm, isn’t that the definition of discrimination?

    Reply this comment
  40. Mike
    Mike 9 March, 2014, 23:36

    I oppose the law, but hey there is reality here. Just because the door is wider for other minorities, does not improve their graduation rate. I know, graduation rate at SDSU was 38% when I attended. More than 60% dropped after 2 years (you want to guess what minority groups make up for that was? The side door is attend community college, get good grades, and you still may get in to place those dropouts.

    Reply this comment
  41. fbnh
    fbnh 11 March, 2014, 13:14

    We are all created equally by God. Placing more emphasis on race than merit when accepting college candidates is simply to admit that some of us are intellectually less equal and acedemicly more handicapped than others, hence need special assistance in their college enrollment. Maybe this is what Senator Hernandez and Janet Chin have admitted.

    Reply this comment
  42. KEVIN
    KEVIN 13 March, 2014, 12:21

    I’m Vietnamese – American, SCA 5 is discrimination against Asian – American. We study hard & work so hard and we’re a good education. We have a good jobs in America. Thank you America, Now we have a children high school in South California we working so hard pay: Tax, and Tutoring my children after school and not by the color of your skin. I consider SCA 5 to be exclusion ACT designed specifically to discrimination against Asian. We Vote SCA 5: NO . Please

    Reply this comment

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