Last week I learned that the California Senate had approved SCA 5, a bill that would repeal provisions of Proposition 209, once again allowing the state of California to deny an individual or group’s rights to public education on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. SCA 5 would result in mandated discrimination against certain students applying to University of California campuses.
From a purely practical standpoint, a policy of rejecting high-performing students based on their ethnicity is a self-defeating idea that I hope our state has the brains to reject.
But the worst part is its racism.
I learned about the bill from father of a boy who’s been friends with my son since kindergarten at North Davis. This kid has always been amazing. In fourth grade, he wrote a three-part essay on the structure of the periodic table, just for fun. Last June, I had the pleasure of watching him and my son receive awards at the Holmes Junior High exit ceremony. They’ve grown into confident, funny, charming young men whom I hope will be lifelong friends.
It was a shock to me when his father shared his concerns about a bill that would limit the space available to Asian students in California’s higher education system. This young man is the kind of exceptional student that UC Davis would be lucky to enroll.
But he’s Chinese-American, and if SCA 5 passes, he’ll be in a population whose quota will be tightly restricted.
I have no doubt that he will get into any college or university he applies to. But would he want to attend a university at which he’s identified as belonging to a population whose numbers are limited by state mandate?
The look on my friend’s face when he shared his concern spoke volumes. This is a law that would hurt his son. It’s ugly. It’s self-defeating for California’s public universities. It goes against everything our supposedly enlightened state stands for.
I urge everyone to sign change.org’s online petition to the California Assembly, urging it to reject this legislation, and to contact our Assembly representatives.