Washington’s Intiative 200 Follows in Footsteps of California’s Prop. 209

The approval of Initiative 200 is the second ban on affirmative action to pass in Washington State, with 58 percent of voters in favor of it.

The University of Washington has stated that it will cease to consider race or gender as factors in admissions, a practice they have applied since the 1960s.

Some public institutions, however, have alluded that they plan to find ways of bypassing the ban. “This is not going to be easy,” said Seattle council member Martha Choe. “A lot of people are still sorting out what this really means, and they’re still looking for ways to keep the doors for diversity open.”

Initiative 200 is a replica of California’s Proposition 209, which banned racial and gender preferences two years ago. As in California, many legal battles are anticipated as a result of the approval of the new measure, especially since the language of Washington’s initiative is so vague.

In California, negative consequences are evident in the decrease of enrolled black and Latino students in the state’s most prestigious universities – Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Since no minority group makes up more than 6 percent of Washington’s population, officials have estimated that women will be most affected by Initiative 200.


Washington Post - November 13, 1998

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