Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Anita DeFrantz

Second Advisor

Aida Joshi

Third Advisor

Robi Woody


The purpose of this case study was to examine alternatives to the admissions process for students seeking enrollment in the University of California. As the University of California was the first public university in the nation to eliminate the consideration of race within their admissions process under SP-1, this study focused on undergraduate admissions solely within this institution. In addition, SP-1 did not ban affirmative action therefore this study did not focus on it. It should be noted that the University of California Board of Regents established SP-1 based upon Governor Wilson's executive order which called for the end of "preferential treatment" and to promote individual opportunity based on merit. SP-1 includes no reference to affirmative action. Under section 9, of SP-1 the University's policy is established to achieve a UC population that reflects the state's diversity through preparation and not based upon artificial preferences. SP-1 bans what they call artificial preferences but they do not define it. SP-1 forbids the University from using race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as criteria for admission to the institution. Admissions based upon these criteria do not constitute affirmative action.

Affirmative action is a policy which protects minority groups' opportunity to obtain their share of resources necessary for their preservation. Affirmative action provides positive steps toward ending segregation. According to Smith (1998) "affirmative action's primary political function is not to compensate African Americans for past discrimination but to protect their human rights against the tyranny of oppression and racism." (Affirmative Action Measures Do Not Discriminate, 1998, pg. 2) As Forbes goes on to state, "providing a remedy for past victims of exclusion is not the granting of preferences but is the bringing to an end of previous preferences granted exclusively to white persons." (Desegregation, Diversity and Affirmative Action in the University of California, 1997, pg. I) Affirmative action does not impose preferences. The term affirmative action, is used in California statutes that guide public education, but the term is not defined. California statutes that require affirmative action do not impose preferences. Based upon these facts this study focused on the need to increase the number ofunderrepresented students admitted to the University of California under the new admissions policy and will limit the discussion of affirmative action.

Specifically, this case study examined a legislative policy, Senate Constitutional Amendment 7, (SCA 7). Introduced by Senator Teresa P. Hughes, SCA 7 proposed to redefine the criteria for student admission to the University of California. SCA 7 proposed to change the selection criteria for admissions by requiring the University of California to admit students who have met the academic criteria and rank in the top 4 percent from each public high school graduating class. The research questions which guided the case study were as follows:

  1. What factors and challenges exist that make it difficult for African-American, Latino and Native American students to gain access to the University of California?
  2. What types of statutory provisions and retention efforts can be established to solve the stagnant growth of underrepresented students in higher education?
  3. What are the current admission requirements and policies that govern the selection of a student body at the University of California?
  4. What proportion of high school graduates within the state are currently eligible to attend the University of California?
  5. What are the current differences in eligibility rates across demographic categories for students eligible to attend the University of California?
  6. What are some alternatives toward increasing diversity of student enrollment that the University of California can implement in its admissions process other than race?