A Liberal Fantasy Camp - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Liberal Fantasy Camp

In April, the Wall Street Journal‘s conservative editorial page hailed the increase in the number of blacks and Hispanics at University of California campuses as a “remarkable achievement.” Last Friday, ironically enough, the Wall Street Journal‘s front page — where the liberals at the paper work — exposed these numbers as hollow. “To Get Into UCLA, It Helps to Face ‘Life Challenges,'” read the story’s mildly mocking title.

The Journal‘s story makes it devastatingly clear that UC officials open the door wide for blacks and Hispanics while closing it on bright Asians like Stanley Park. Though Park experienced the same “life challenges” as Blanca Martinez — and scored 390 points higher than her on the SATs — she got into Berkeley and UCLA while he didn’t, reports the Journal.

“It is simply shameful that it is worth less to be poor and Asian than to be poor and Hispanic,” a UC critic told the Journal.

The average SAT score for Hispanics at UCLA is 1168; the average for Asians is 1344 (the average score for Asians rejected by UCLA is higher than 1168.) What explains this gap? Left-wing social engineering. UC officials want a college system that looks like California, not Japan. An objective standard can’t achieve this political goal, so they have adopted a subjective one. Woe to the applicant who has made the mistake of not being born in the barrio or the ghetto.

The following “life challenges” impress UCLA admissions officials, according to the Journal: “immigration hardships, living in a high-crime neighborhood, having been a victim of a shooting and having long-term psychological difficulties.”

Since nobody has shot at Stanley Park recently, UCLA and Berkeley told him to take his 1500 SAT score elsewhere. Asians just don’t live in the right neighborhoods.

“At Mr. Park’s University High in Irvine, where the student body is 50% non-Hispanic white and 41% Asian-American, UCLA acceptances plunged to 69 students this year from 89 last year, and Berkeley admissions fell to 47 from 63,” reports the Journal. “Principal Diana Schmeizer thinks she knows why: ‘Our students come from stable homes and their parents are teachers, doctors, and lawyers. It feels as though the kid who works very hard and comes from an upper-middle-class family is in fact the disadvantaged student’ under the new admissions criteria. She has in mind students such as Albert Shin, an engineer’s son turned down by UCLA and Berkeley despite a 1540 SAT score.”

Meanwhile, Susana Pena is UCLA-bound with an anemic 940 on the SAT. “Once in a while, they should give us a little break so we can catch up to them,” she said to the Journal. Dania Medina, who “scored just 410 out of 800 on her verbal SAT,” will be a Bruin too, reports the Journal. UCLA was evidently impressed by her last name and by “her admissions essay about having a sister with Down syndrome.”

UC “outreach” officials encourage disadvantaged Hispanics to lay it on pretty thick in their application essays. Under the direction of one such official, Rosaura Novelo wowed UCLA with an application essay in which she observed that her Mexican immigrant father gets “only minimum wage.” The Journal says, “UCLA admitted her despite an SAT score of 980.”

The UC system once made a plausible claim to academic excellence. No more. Now it is mainly a liberal fantasy camp. Explicit affirmative action was banned by Proposition 209. But UC’s back door is still off its hinge.

If the number of blacks and Hispanics at UC schools rises as standards fall, where is the achievement? And if old grievances are solved by creating new ones, where is the progress?

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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