Friday October 14, 2022
"To Enjoy Equal Privilege Therein": The effort to restore minority admissions at the University of California after the repeal of affirmative action, with Saul Geiser. 12 - 1:30pm PT
After Californians voted to repeal affirmative action in 1996, admissions of Latino, Black, and American Indian students plunged by half at the University of California ‘s most selective campuses. This talk will present a participant-observer’s view of what happened next. University officials were forced to reexamine virtually every aspect of admissions policy in an effort to ameliorate racial disparities by race-neutral means. The result was one of the most remarkable and sustained periods of policy innovation in the university’s history. Among other initiatives introduced at this time were UC’s Top 4% Plan, which extended eligibility for admission to top students in every California high school; a greatly expanded program of university outreach to some of the lowest performing schools in the state; adoption of comprehensive review in admissions, a practice that until then had been mostly confined to small, private institutions; and a challenge to the most widely used test in American college admissions, the SAT, a challenge that would have national repercussions. The talk will examine how these various policy initiatives were developed and, with the hindsight of two decades, how successful (or unsuccessful) they proved to be. Special attention will be paid to the role of data in policy development and the importance of an effective policy narrative in winning support for admissions reforms.
Saul Geiser is a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley and taught there before joining UC’s Office of the President in 1981. Geiser served as director of admissions research for the UC system after Californians voted to end affirmative action in 1996, and he helped redesign UC admissions policy. His work has focused on issues of equity and validity in college admissions, with the aim of identifying admissions criteria that have less adverse impact on low-income and minority applicants while remaining valid indicators of student preparedness for college. Geiser’s work has contributed to the development of a number of new admissions policies, including UC's policy on Eligibility in the Local Context, which guaranteed admission to the top four percent (and now top nine percent) of students in each California high school. His research was influential in the UC Regents’ decision in 2020 to phase out the SAT and ACT in university admissions.
To register for this or other events in this group, contact Anne MacLachlan at: email@example.com