Civil Rights Lawyers filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education on March 19, alleging that the University of California, having abolished affirmative action in graduate admissions, discriminates against women and people of color. The complaint claims that criteria favoring whites and men are still considered in UC’s graduate admissions, a violation of equal educational opportunity requirements which would make the UC system ineligible for $1 billion in federal funds. In UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School, added weight is given to the grade point averages of applicants from predominantly white Eastern colleges while grades from predominantly black Howard University and Cal State Los Angeles (where black and Latino students comprise one-third of the student population) are discounted. The projected enrollment of Boalt’s applicants of ethnic and racial minorities other than Chinese, Japanese and Korean is likely to fall to four percent in the fall of 1997 down from 25 over the past several years. Minority enrollment at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering is expected to drop by 33 percent while women’s enrollment will likely drop by 25 percent using the remaining selection criteria without affirmative action.
Arguing that the graduate admissions policies at UC “have a discriminatory effect” on women, blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the NAACP, the California Women’s Law Center, and Equal Rights Advocates filed the complaint. Affirmative Action will be abolished in undergraduate admissions at UC for Fall 1998.