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Reviewing the Reviewers


By Jack Feuer

Published Jan 1, 2009 8:00 AM

UCLA has embarked on a comprehensive study led by Sociology Professor Robert Mare to analyze the effect of its "holistic" review admissions process and ensure its continued consistency with state law.

The timetable for the review — which is expected to conclude later this year — was advanced after the late-summer resignation of UCLA Political Science Professor Timothy Groseclose from the university's Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools.

Groseclose alleged that the university refused to allow him to study the process, which he claimed violates Proposition 209 prohibiting California's public institutions from considering race and other factors, and unfairly tilts toward African-American candidates at the expense of others.

In a statement, the university said that "UCLA's admissions team has offered to work with Professor Groseclose to provide data meaningful for use in his own analysis — within the constraints of privacy laws but going well beyond what would be required by the California Public Records Act. It is disappointing that Professor Groseclose has decided not to work with staff to arrive at a solution."

Admit One

For a detailed analysis of UCLA's admission's policies, see the UCLA Magazine article Under Review.

To find out more about the University of California and UCLA's admissions policies and procedures, and the most recent news out of Sacramento and Oakland, visit

The faculty moved to holistic review, in which readers rank candidates for admission on the basis of a review of a candidate's entire application, beginning with the fall 2007 freshman class. The faculty believed a more individualized and qualitative assessment of each applicant would be more fair and better achieve the UC Regents' goal of comprehensive review. UC Berkeley and Ivy League institutions have had holistic review admissions policies for years.

Previously, undergraduate applications were assessed separately by two readers — one for academic review and one for personal achievement and life challenges. The scores were combined for a final rank.

After Prop. 209 was passed in 1996, black enrollment at California's universities declined steadily for a decade. By 2006, only a little over 100 African Americans entered UCLA as freshmen. After holistic review was implemented in fall 2007, 230 of more than 4,880 entering freshmen were African American.



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