Focus should be on income, not race

Daily Sundial

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In the competitive world of academia, receiving admission into any quality college is vitally important. It’s what we need to be well equipped when we go out into the “real world.” But competition is fierce, or at least tough.

An L.A. Times article released May 23 reported the CSU system expected nearly 70,000 freshmen to enroll this fall, which is up about 2 percent compared to last year.

Although, there is an expected increase in freshman enrollment, the Times also reported that the chances of getting accepted into five of the CSUs was a little tougher this fall. They were CSU Channel Islands, San Marcos, San Luis Obispo, San Diego and Long Beach.

For CSU admission, sometimes tuition costs, although comparatively cheaper than most UCs, continues to eliminate the chances for students to get into our system.

Being a minority is another challenge. Some people like California Assemblyman Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, even imply that minorities have difficulty getting into the CSU and UC systems.

With challenges to overcome, some politicians plan to throw in the issue of race, ethnicity, gender and other socio-economic factors to help minorities get into CSUs and UCs.

Nunez, D-Los Angeles, proposed a bill earlier this year, AB 1452, that would allow CSUs and UCs to “consider” someone’s ethnicity, gender, race, household income and geographic and national origin for admission.

That should help some people to be admitted into college, or will it?

Household income is something you can sympathize with, in terms of considering someone’s admission. Education shouldn’t come at a hefty price, and people on the low-end of the economic scale shouldn’t be denied access to higher education. Furthermore, there are already socio-economic factors considered in the CSUs admission policies. But the issues of race, ethnicity and gender are the real factors that create more problems and complications.

People who feel they are underrepresented in both school systems might be favored, but if the bill is passed, it will ultimately hurt others who want to be admitted into a UC or CSU.

Nunez’s bill sounds like another form of affirmative action. And although supporters of the bill say it isn’t, the implications of affirmative action are pretty strong.

The bill specifically states is designed to increase “access to the University of California and the California State University systems to address the sharply declining number of students with diverse backgrounds,” according to the Fabian Nunez’s official website.

Supporters, including the American Civil Liberties Union, claim the bill will aid CSUs and UCs to mirror its surrounding community.

But would passing a bill that considers race and the other factors really be helpful?

There was a similar bill, AB 2387, introduced by Marco Antonio Firebaugh, D-Los Angeles, but was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. It was vetoed for the same reason AB 1452 may be: because it would violate proposition 209, which, in 1996, got rid of affirmative action in California.

This all goes back to the fundamentals: access to higher education should be based primarily on academic merit. Financial help should be offered to people who have the smarts to enter college but not the funds.

But race, ethnicity, gender geographic and national origin should not be factors in determining admission.

Samuel Richards can be reached at sam.richards@csun.edu