Recommendations for BOARS on Strengthening Equity in Freshman and Transfer Admissions

Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts with you today. As you already know, for the past 16 years I’ve led the Campaign for College Opportunity with a focus on expanding college access and success in California and with an unabashed focus on closing equity gaps that persist in student preparation for college, admission into college, and success through college. As a native Californian, a first generation Latina college graduate, a UCLA alum, and a proud product of affirmative action . . . our organizational mission isn’t something I just do, it’s a purpose and avocation that allows me every single day to address the equal parts guilt and pride I feel for having made it.

I also want to be clear that you shouldn’t diminish or devalue this passion – it comes backed with facts, experience, and an abundance of political strategy to press for change in higher education (including the UC) that could and should be more diverse and inclusive, and yet is not sufficiently so.

I appreciate the invitation to discuss how the BOARS can advance a more equitable admissions process for both freshman and transfer applicants. It is the right question to be asking and answering, especially as we reflect on the historic decision by the UC Board of Regents just two weeks ago on standardized testing.

I know the challenge before every campus in identifying a fair admissions process is a paramount goal. But in practice, admissions practices have disparate impact. Admissions processes identify what a campus values – and places those values in unequal weight to achieve some aspired and hopeful (but impossible) place of objectivity.

As you consider how to make admissions more equitable, I urge you to ask the harder questions: Read more