The University of California (UC) regents last Thursday voted 15 to 3 (1 abstention), opposing a measureÑpushed by one of its ownÑto end racial data collection by most state and local agencies. Under the Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color and National Origin Initiative (CRECNO), originally termed the “Racial Privacy Initiative” and sponsored by former Proposition 209 champion Ward Connerly, birth and death certificates also would no longer indicate ethnicity, according to the Boston Globe.
Opponents of the proposal insist that without racial data, the progress of minority or disadvantaged groups in fields such as academics, law enforcement, and medicine is impossible to track, reported the Boston Globe. Despite exceptions for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, state agencies required to demonstrate compliance with federal programs, and clinical medical research participants, UC spokesman Michael Reese told the Contra Costa Times the initiative would have “a particularly negative impact” on the university, especially regarding its commitment to diversity and its research mission. The UC Academic Senate also voiced concern over restricted access to information. “We should never say that public policy should not know data and knowledge and analyze it,” Chair Gayle Binion told the Daily Bruin. The proposition is scheduled to appear on the March 2004 state general election ballot.