Black, Hispanic Enrollment Decline at UC; Berkeley Hit Hard
Compared to last year's numbers, 12% fewer black and Hispanic students intend to enroll at the University of California (UC) this fall.
UC's ban on affirmative action programs has prompted even sharper declines at its highly-competitive Berkeley campus, which suffered a 52% drop in the number of Black and Hispanic students who expect to enroll this fall. Of the 3,660 students expected to enroll, only 264 are Hispanic and 98 are black. Asians, who did not benefit from previous affirmative action programs, will compose 42% of the freshman class.
Last month, UC-Berkeley announced that it had rejected more than 800 Black and Hispanic applicants who had 4.0 grade point averages and who had scores of at least 1,200 on the SAT exam. Minority leaders argue that standardized tests are often biased against members of their communities and decry the damage that will be caused to all students as a result of declining diversity in the student body.
Yvonne Valenzuela, leader of an outreach group for fellow Hispanic students at Berkeley, said, "We have really been devastated...It's definitely going to change the way the campus is, the education you get outside the classroom from having diversity."
Media Resources: AP and Washington Post - May 21, 1998
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .