UCLA has serious admissions problems.

In a story in the LA Times, it was reported that of the incoming freshman class of 4,852 people this fall, only 96 are black - the lowest number since 1973. Furthermore, 20 of those students were accepted based on athletic achievement. Per the article, many of the students that were rejected by UCLA were accepted by other top tier schools such as UC Berkeley and USC.

UCLA claims that it "receives over 42,000 freshman applications and admits approximately one of every four applicants for its freshman class." This means that they accept ~10,500 students, of which 4,700 chose to enroll. Given these ratios, UCLA theoretically accepted approximately 213 black students of 853 that applied. Considering that the United States population is 11% black, if the applicant pool were representive of the population - there should have been 5,000 applications instead of 853.

So what the hell is going on here? UCLA blames that Prop 209 which made affirmative action illegal. If that's the case, why is UCLA the only school with such incredible difficulties? Shouldn't all schools be experiencing the same problem?

On UCLA's website, there is a section talking about admission policies. UCLA makes three seperate evaluations of each candidate; "an academic review, an assessment of personal achievements, and an assessment of life challenges." In the "academic review" section, "Primary emphasis is placed on the GPA in college preparatory courses."

When it comes to public high school in California, minority students are getting the shaft.

"California’s overall graduation rate is approximately 71 percent––16 percentage points lower than the official rate of 87 percent. The graduation rates for African-American and Latino students are even lower, 60 percent for Latino students and 56.6 percent for African-Americans."

The condition of schools in minority areas is deplorable. Wealthy neighborhoods have the political clout to form their own school districts - for example Beverly Hills Unified and San Marino Unified. Everyone else gets shoved into the giant and terrible Los Angeles Unified. Instead of a fair distribution of education dollars, wealthy students get fancy computer labs, the best teachers, and latest textbooks while poor students get run down facilities and outdated material. It's easy to offer a wide variety of college prep classes when your graduation rate is 98% and you have a huge budget. It's another thing altogether when you are struggling to pay your staff and only 55% of your students graduate.

I believe that UCLA's insistance on emphasizing college prep classes is the cause of this great injustice. They are specifically eliminating many students who didn't have the opportunity to get a terrific highschool education - but may still be very qualified individuals.

Let there be light, indeed.