Admissions Lawsuit: Berdahl Responds
Posted February 3, 1999
In a lawsuit filed Feb. 2 in U.S. District Court against the UC Regents, four civil rights organizations targeted Berkeley for its admissions practices. Chancellor Berdahl issued the following response.
"The central allegation of this lawsuit is false. The plaintiffs claim that Berkeley does not want African American, Latino and Filipino-American students. That is not true -- we do. We seek minority students vigorously and welcome them eagerly.
"We have not been adversaries with those making these charges. Indeed, we have shared with them a strong commitment to access and diversity. Berkeley has been a national leader in diversifying its student body. We have demonstrated for decades a steadfast resolve to admit and educate students of all races and ethnicities. Our resolve has not changed. But the laws under which we operate have changed.
"Since 1997, under a new set of legal limitations imposed on our admissions process, we have worked hard to make sure that each applicant continues to receive fair and thorough consideration. The admissions staff that evaluates applications themselves represent racial and ethnic diversity. Moreover, they are highly trained to apply the same consistent standards to all applicants, recognizing the disadvantages some have faced. Today, for example, we rely less on test scores than at any time since standardized tests were introduced into the admissions process. Further, we have intensified our recruitment efforts to more actively encourage underrepresented minority students to enroll at Berkeley.
"Berkeley has a history of cooperation, partnership and shared goals that have characterized our efforts to provide access to African American, Latino, and Filipino-American students. Our admissions policies and practices are completely open to public review. We welcome productive discussion on the issues raised in this lawsuit.
"We at Berkeley recognize the fundamental role that access of minority communities to UC Berkeley plays in the future of our state and nation. We also recognize the educational value to all of our students provided by a diverse learning environment. On these points, we are in complete accord with the civil rights organizations."