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President Dynes' letter to the Regents

TO THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

You have all received a copy of Chairman Moores' "A Preliminary Analysis of the University of California, Berkeley Admission Process for 2002." As you know, the Los Angeles Times ran a story Saturday on the preliminary analysis. I enclose for your information Chancellor Berdahl's response to the preliminary analysis, and questions and answers relating to key points in that analysis that have been prepared by Office of the President staff.

Chairman Moores' preliminary analysis focuses primarily on SAT I scores in analyzing the application and admission rates of students to UC Berkeley. Several points bear emphasizing:

  • UC applicants are first judged eligible for the UC system by virtue of their grades, SAT II scores, and SAT I or ACT scores – weighted in that order by faculty and University policy. These eligible students represent the very best and brightest of California – the top 12.5 percent of high school seniors in the state, as required under the California Master Plan for Higher Education.
  • Consistent with Regents' policy, campuses use a variety of factors – predominantly traditional academic criteria, such as grades and test scores, but also other measures of achievement and promise – to select from the pool of eligible applicants. Campuses are encouraged to draw from the full range of the eligibility pool. This seems reasonable and desirable in a system like UC, where we do not have a flagship and several lesser campuses, but a true system of distinguished universities. Admitting students from the full eligibility pool not only strengthens all our campuses, but also the intellec tual experience our undergraduates receive. While these students represent a broad array of experiences, they do share with one another the characteristics of high academic and personal achievement.

Chancellor Berdahl clarifies several crucial points, including the fact that the quality of Berkeley's 2002 freshman class was the highest in the campus' history, and he raises a number of important points that suggest that the complexity of these issues warrants further exploration. Shortly after my selection as president, Regent Kozberg asked me to consider the establishment of a Study Group that would provide further review of the range of admissions and enrollment challenges confronting the University. Such a group would be composed of Regents, faculty, and members of the administration. I agreed with her suggestion and have been waiting to take office before convening this new Study Group. Among the topics this group could take up is Regent Moores' preliminary analysis.

I look forward to working with The Regents and the faculty on these important issues.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Dynes