Affirmative Action at UCLA
Imagine that you just graduated from Harvard Law School and have started working at the Latina/o Civil Rights Law Firm of Los Angeles. Chancellor Block has just changed UCLAâ€™s admissions policy to promote greater student body diversity. Knowing that you have some experience in constitutional law related to affirmative action, the executive director of the Latina/o Civil Rights Law Firm asks you to evaluate whether or not Chancellor Blockâ€™s new policy is constitutional.
Chancellor Blockâ€™s admissions policy is called â€œBruin Diversity.â€ There are three stated goals of â€œBruin Diversityâ€:
1. Reduction of the historic deficit of Latinas/os, African Americans, and Native Americans at UCLA.
2. To remedy the effects of societal discrimination against Latinas/os, African Americans, Native Americans, and other ethnic minority groups in the current hostile political climate.
3. To obtain the educational benefits that flow from an ethnically diverse student body.
According to â€œBruin Diversity,â€ applications will be reviewed based upon the following criteria:
1. High school grades (30 points maximum)
2. Standardized test scores (30 points maximum)
3. High school quality (10 points maximum)
4. Curriculum strength (10 points maximum)
5. Geography (10 points maximum)
6. Leadership (10 points maximum)
7. Miscellaneous (15 points maximum)
For this miscellaneous category, students are awarded points for surmounting difficult life circumstances and extraordinary life challenges. Latinas/os, African Americans, and Native Americans are also automatically awarded 15 points for their potential contribution to campus cultural diversity.
Latina/o, African American, and Native American applicants will be evaluated separately from applicants from all other racial and ethnic groups. Their applications will be set aside and given to a special committee on race relations.
Chancellor Block aims to set-aside 33% of all admission slots for Latinas/os, African Americans, and Native Americans.
Chancellor Block did not consider any race-neutral alternatives for achieving student body diversity on the UCLA campus.
The Bruin Diversity Plan utilizes the following â€œSelection Indexâ€:
115-90 points (admit)
89-80 (admit or postpone)
79-70 (postpone or admit)
69-60 (delay or postpone)
60 and below (delay or reject).
Is the Bruin Diversity Plan legal according to Prop 209 and Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson? Why or why not? In your answer take into consideration only traditional equal protection clause analysis. Donâ€™t worry about structural equal protection analysis. 1 page, double-spaced.
If Proposition 209 was eliminated, would the Bruin Diversity Plan be constitutional according to the Equal Protection Clause? 5 pages, double-spaced.
Your answer should address the following key issues:
1. Is the Bruin Diversity Plan justified by a compelling interest? Which of the stated goals can be considered compelling? Why or why not?
2. Is the Bruin Diversity Plan narrowly tailored? 2-3 pages.
In the Grutter case of 2003, Justice Sandra Day Oâ€™Connor stated:
“We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”
Based upon what you have learned in this course, do you think that affirmative action is necessary today in university admissions, employment, and/or government contracting? Why or why not? You may also choose to include a discussion of gender in your response.
2 pages, double-spaced.