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Forum 19:

Diversity and the University of California: Is It Possible?

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Held Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Forum Summary

California is a diverse state that has swung from progressive to reactionary to moderate civil rights policies and law over the last half century—and potentially stands ready to change direction again. Professors Gándara and Orfield will begin their presentation with a description of the politics of race and the ways in which the Civil Rights Movement shaped California’s and the nation’s response to the call for greater diversity in education, including affirmative action.

The two will then review the impact of the elimination of affirmative action in California as part of a broader movement of racial polarization in state and national politics, and also the response of the University of California—focusing on costs and outcomes. Given current conditions faced by California’s public schools, Gándara and Orfield will argue that there simply are no realistic alternatives to racially conscious admissions if higher education, and UC in particular, are to meet the social and economic challenges of a state with a non-white majority population. Finally, the professors will discuss a proposal to either overturn or redefine California’s current ban on affirmative action.

Publications Related to this Forum

View Gándara’s and Orfield’s articles relevant to this forum: Orfield and Frankenberg, “Increasingly Segregated and Unequal Schools as Courts Reverse Policy” (2014); Gándara, “California: A Case Study in the Loss of Affirmative Action” (2012); Gándara, Alvarado, Driscoll, and Orfield, "Building Pathways to Transfer: Community Colleges that Break the Chain of Failure for Students of Color" (2012); and Gándara and Bial, "Paving the Way to Postsecondary Education: K–12 Intervention Programs for Underrepresented Youth” (2001)