Crisis Point


Published Oct 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Prop. 209 at a Glance

Proposition 209 was passed by referendum in 1996.

This law amended the California Constitution to prohibit state and other public entities, including universities and colleges, from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to any individual or group in public employment or education, or contracting on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

The University of California (UC) was banned from using race in the admissions process. Prop. 209 was first applied to the 1998 freshman class. After it was implemented, the proportion of admitted underrepresented minorities, which includes African-American, Latino and Native-American students, fell drastically across all UC campuses.

The Office of the President has determined that the restrictions of Prop. 209 also include outreach efforts, meaning UC campuses cannot:

  • develop race-based academic preparation programs;
  • develop race-based recruitment programs;
  • provide scholarship money based on race.

Prior to 209, UCLA consistently led the UC system in the number of underrepresented minorities admitted and enrolled as freshmen. Since Prop. 209, African-American enrollment has dropped by 57 percent.



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