Bill to reduce SAT’s power at UC passes committee

By Stefanie Frith The Associated Press
Thursday April 18, 2002

SACRAMENTO — A bill that asks the University of California to stop using standardized tests as the sole criterion for graduate school admissions passed an Assembly committee Tuesday. 

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 178 was approved 6-1 by the Assembly Higher Education Committee, sending the bill to the Appropriations Committee. Assemblyman Phil Wyman, R-Tehachapi, voted no. 

During a press conference earlier Tuesday at the University of California, Davis, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante cited a dramatic decrease in the number of minorities enrolling in the University of California graduate and professional programs as reasons the bill was needed. 

The University of California needs to implement the same admission standards for students applying to graduate programs and professional schools that are now in place for undergraduate freshman students, said Bustamante, a Democrat. 

Lavonne Luquis, a UC spokeswoman, said each university uses different factors in determining admissions. Test scores are considered, but the universities also look at student accomplishments and leadership skills. 

Despite California’s increasing diversity, the number of minority students being admitted to UC graduate programs and professional schools is down. For example, from the fall of 1994 to the fall of 2001, the number of Hispanics admitted to law schools at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UCLA declined by 33 percent, according to the University of California. 

During the same period, the number of black students admitted to the same three law schools declined by 55 percent, while American Indians declined 65 percent. 

“The numbers are staggering,” said Assemblyman Manny Diaz, D-San Jose, the bill’s author. “We need to do more here in Sacramento to make sure all students can participate in our graduate programs.” 

His resolution asks the University of California to review its admissions process used in its graduate and professional schools by the end of the 2002-03 term. That would include considering a broader variety of academic and personal qualifications.