Racist CA law limiting Asians in UCs destroyed


CAPTION: Cupertino protesters gather to rally against the passing of SCA 5, a law that allows UCs and CSUs to discriminate college applicants by race. Awareness spreading in the public was key to stopping the bill in its tracks. Photo credit: scpr.org

Jim Crow laws, Native American reservations, Japanese internment camps— they all seem obsolete. With gay marriage and pro-choice groups making strides in America, you’d think we would be past such petty racism by 2014.

Wrong. In the past few months, the California State Senate has passed a bill restricting the number of Asian-American students admitted into CSU and UC institutions.

The bill, Senate Constitutional Agreement 5 (known as SCA 5) was introduced by Senator Edward Hernandez on January 30th, and has since ignited an uproar from the Asian-American community from both inside and outside the schools.

I, for one, am outraged by the rapid and seemingly casual passing of this bill. Not only are Asian-Americans discriminated against, but their basic right to education has been denied.

Passing SCA 5 in the name of “diversifying” UCs and CSUs would be preventing qualified students from attaining a higher education, further excluding Asian-Americans from pursuing their futures at quality institutions.

Currently, 15.3% of CSU students are Asian and 29.8% of UC students are Asian— an astonishingly lower number than the claimed 50% by supporters of the bill. However, SCA 5 would also restrict the number of international Asian admissions as well.

Nearly a decade ago, we passed Proposition 209, banning the admission of students based on race, ethnicity, or gender— yet SCA 5 nullifies portions of the Prop entirely, even regressing California to times before the Civil Rights Movement.

If voted into effect by the citizens of California, SCA 5 would lower the admission standards* for non-Asian minorities while raising those for Asian-American students worldwide.

Isn’t this a bit too reminiscent of the Chinese Exclusion Act (which was passed over a century ago)? Or the Alien Land Law that targeted Japanese-Americans? Or even the case of Brown v. Board?

While I recognize that diversity is incredibly important to the environment of a college, academic standards should not have to be lowered to promote it.

Shockingly, all three Asian-American Senators approved of SCA 5. All received severe backlash.

UC regent Ward Connerly, one of the primary proponents of Prop. 209, opposes the bill vehemently.

“I believe in merit and in treating everyone equally,” Connerly said to the DailyCal. “I hate discrimination, but the fact that the numbers are down for some groups does not mean that there is discrimination.”

Presently, 36 government-listed organizations support SCA 5, while 28 oppose it.

One of the latter, Asian-American lobbyist group The 80-20 Initiative has spread awareness of the bill and has had it successfully withdrawn by Senator John A. Perez.

Senator Jon Lieu, who had previously voted for the bill, had been convinced by the organization.
“I will vote against SCA 5 if and when it comes back to the Senate and any amendment in any form that continues to seek race-conscious admissions,” Lieu said in a public statement.

And his prediction may be right: Senator Hernandez plans to have the bill delayed to be a part of the 2016 election campaign.

“The point of SCA 5 was to admit more students of color from groups underrepresented at University of California and Cal State schools,” Hernandez said in an interview with Southern California Public Radio reporters. “including African-Americans, American Indians and Latinos.”

*Unknown how much lower the standards would be.