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UCLA has offered admission for the fall to 392 African American students, up from the 249 who were offered a place in the current freshman class, officials announced Thursday.
That part of the University of California’s detailed annual release on freshman admissions was greeted with satisfaction and a measure of relief by UCLA administrators and others who had expressed concern about declining numbers of black students on the Westwood campus. The number reached a crisis last fall, when only about 100 black freshmen enrolled — or about 2% of a class of more than 4,800.
Overall, 57,318 Californians were offered admission to at least one UC campus; 11,837 students were accepted to UCLA.
Acting UCLA Chancellor Norman Abrams, who pushed the campus toward implementing a more “holistic” admissions process for the fall, partly in response to the low African American numbers, said Thursday he was pleased.
“It was heartening to see that the African American numbers and the proportion of underrepresented minorities in general went up this year,” Abrams said. “To see that our academic numbers have also risen somewhat is also a very good sign.”
Abrams said UCLA officials would study the admissions data to learn the reasons for the changes this year, which also included an increase in Latino and white freshman admissions and a drop in that for Asians.
He said some of the shifts might be year-to-year fluctuations and others could be the result of the new admissions system, which UCLA officials have said is fairer for all applicants because it allows their achievements to be viewed in context.
But the chancellor emphasized that UCLA had not — and under California law could not — take race into account in its admissions. Proposition 209, a 1996 voter-approved initiative, bars the state’s public institutions from considering race in admissions or employment decisions.
Ward Connerly, the conservative former UC regent and architect of Proposition 209, was skeptical.
“One of three things must be happening,” Connerly said Thursday. “Black kids have either gotten extremely smart or extremely competitive in a way they weren’t five or six years ago, or there’s been a deliberate, carefully orchestrated effort by a lot of admissions people to conspire to increase those numbers, or they’ve found a proxy for race.”
Along with the percentage of black students, which went up from 2.1% a year ago to 3.4% now, the proportions of Latino and white students also rose for the newly admitted class. Latinos make up 12.8% (1,470 students) of the fall class, up from 11.9% (1,403 students) this year. The number of white students was the same both years: 3,791, although officials said that the figure represented a marginally higher percentage (33%) of 2007’s slightly smaller admitted class.
The proportion of Asian and Asian American students offered UCLA admission dropped slightly, from 45.6% for current freshmen — or 5,390 students — to 43.1%, or 4,956 students — for the incoming class. But as they have for many years, such students made up the largest racial or ethnic group in the newly admitted class.
Candice Shikai, a UCLA junior who is a leader of UCLA’s Asian Pacific Coalition, noted the drop in Asian Americans in the admitted class, but said she and other Asian American students were happy to see black admissions rise.
(Posted on April 6, 2007)