American Renaissance

Don’t Fight Chairman Moores; Join Him

SignOnSanDiego, Mar. 22

What comes of the information and discussion that John Moores wants — and his University of California regents have said they want — about UC admissions policy, no one can yet say. But Moores, chairman of the Board of Regents, is absolutely right to request that the information be adequately gathered and publicly disclosed and that the discussion be publicly held.

Eight of the 14 regents voted on Thursday for a resolution that in effect rebuked Moores for taking the discussion nationwide in an article in the March 12 Forbes magazine. The views Moores expressed there, these regents say, “do not represent the views of the Board of Regents.”

What did Moores say in Forbes? Certainly nothing unprotected by the free speech rights of every American, and nothing very new, though perhaps he said it more forcefully than before. Since 1996, he writes,when California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 209 to end racial preferences in college admissions, “UC administrators have been manipulating the admissions system and, I believe, thwarting the law.”

Moores has arrived at this opinion after much statistical analysis of the “comprehensive review” approach to university admissions. But more data are needed to draw clear conclusions — and, if necessary, to draw clearer policies. As important, getting that data to the regents from university officials in full and timely fashion is, Moores has found, like pulling teeth, particularly when it comes to admission and student performance over time. It shouldn’t be.

It needn’t be, if the system is working properly — that is, without the worrisome lowering of academic standards which Moores, and some others, say the data indicate. If the system is not working properly, who better to be apprised of that than the regents who approved it, the officials who administer it, the students who are admitted by it and the taxpayers who bear the brunt of the cost for their education?

In the resolution hastily drawn and narrowly passed on Thursday, the board itself resolves that it “is committed to the continued monitoring, evaluation and improvement of the implementation procedures and methods (of comprehensive review) to assure their effectiveness and compliance with university policies as well as federal and state law.” The presentation by the Eligibility and Admissions Study Group, established by UC President Robert Dynes last fall, included recommendations for adjustments, revisions and more frequent reviews. The study group concludes that “a few possible areas of concern require further study.” The system, then, has its flaws, big, small or in between. The UC regents, students and Californians generally need to know what they are, the better to ensure they are addressed. Moores should hardly have to fight other regents or administrators in that pursuit.