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Spring 2003
Why UCLA?
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Ten years after her arrival at UCLA, California voters passed Proposition 209, which banned universities from using race criteria in admissions. That placed constraints on UCLA that people have come to interpret in different ways, Crenshaw says. “We’re still trying to arrive at some kind of settlement about what the parameters of non-discrimination and non-preference actually are,” Crenshaw says, “and that’s what makes UCLA a critical place to be.”

Furthermore, Crenshaw says, UCLA is the birthplace of critical race studies and has a “treasure trove” of academics and faculty. The law school maintains one of the most diverse faculties in the country, with people who teach race and law as they pertain to all major racial groups. This provides for a unique blend that can be used to attract the best students, she adds.

Currently, Crenshaw splits her time between UCLA and Columbia Law School, teaching and conducting research on both campuses. While she enjoys her time at Columbia, she says she has no plans to leave UCLA.

“One can think about public institutions as being attractive because of their educational mission, and about private institutions as being attractive because of their tradition of academic excellence,” Crenshaw says. “UCLA’s mission of achieving excellence through diversity blends the best of both worlds: It is an institution that is publicly minded, but also it is an institution that is heavily invested in producing the best ideas and practices that can help reshape our society.”

— Wendy Soderburg ’82

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