NEWS RELEASE, 05/05/98

Boalt Hall appoints outreach and recruitment director, releases data showing increase in minority admissions

By Lujuana Treadwell

BERKELEY -- The University of California, Berkeley's School of Law (Boalt Hall) announced today that Corliss P. Bennett will be the school's first Associate Director of Admissions for Outreach and Recruitment.

Bennett comes to UC Berkeley from the University of Southern California. She will lead the law school's intensified efforts to persuade admitted students to enroll at Boalt Hall and will expand the law school's outreach to prospective students, encouraging them to apply to Boalt Hall.

She will join the Boalt Hall administration on June 8, leaving her current position as Senior Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at USC. She holds an MA in International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco and a BA from UC Riverside.

The new position was created in part in response to the dramatic decline last year in the number of underrepresented minority students admitted and enrolled in Boalt Hall's current first-year class.

In a related development, Boalt Hall announced that it has made more offers of admission this year than it did last year to African American, Chicano, Native American and underrepresented Asian groups.

"Ms. Bennett's appointment, together with a significant increase in the number of underrepresented minorities receiving offers of admission for 1998 - our second admissions cycle without an affirmative action program - is encouraging," said Boalt Hall Dean Herma Hill Kay.

"We understand that some students are skeptical about Boalt, given the changes brought about by the affirmative action prohibition," she said. "We are making every effort to persuade our admitted students to enroll here, holding receptions for them in major cities, giving them personalized tours of the law school and working with bar associations and other private organizations that are creating additional scholarships for Boalt students."

"Even before Ms. Bennett joins us," Kay added, "our faculty, students and alumni are calling many of our admitted students to encourage them to come to Boalt. Once she arrives, all of these efforts can be intensified. I am delighted that Corliss Bennett has joined us, and we all look forward to working with her."

The law school has completed the process of admitting, denying or wait-listing all applicants for fall 1998, although additional applicants may still be admitted from the waiting list in order to enroll a first year class of 270 students. The number of students who applied for admission to Boalt Hall - 4,587 people - is a 10 percent increase over last year. Of those applicants, 857 of them have been offered admission.

The table below compares admissions data for 1997 and 1998. For more detailed information, please see the attached chart.

Admitted in  1997  1998
African Americans  18  32
Asian American  107  95
Asian American subgroups  42  49
Chicanos  27  41
Latinos  19  19
Native Americans  2  4
Minority Subtotal  215  240
White/Caucasian  499  461
Other  66  55
Declined to state  80  101
Total  860  857

"Those students admitted this year are as strong a group of students as the school has ever had," said Dean Kay, "as measured by their accomplishments and backgrounds as well as by their numerical indicators, a mean undergraduate grade point average of 3.76 and a mean LSAT score of 168, which is the 98th percentile.

At the same time, these admissions data represent an encouraging increase over the offers of admissions made to underrepresented minority applicants last year. Pursuant to policies adopted by the Boalt faculty in late 1997, we avoided overreliance on numerical indicators, which have never been the sole criteria for admission to Boalt Hall, and we carefully considered the full range of each applicants' accomplishments and experiences. Under Proposition 209 and the UC Regents' decision prohibiting affirmative action, race and ethnicity were not considered in making admissions decisions."

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