Proposition 209 has had a devastating impact on minority enrollment. Last year, Latina/o, black and Native Americans were over 48 percent of the state’s high-school graduates but only 21 percent of the entering class at Berkeley.
George Washington, one of the BAMN attorneys working on the case, said:
“Proposition 209 is today’s version of ‘separate and unequal’.
It allows the Regents to consider special admissions programs to remedy every form of discrimination and exclusion except the greatest exclusion of all—that of Latina/o, black and Native American applicants.”
The law has contributed to a growing hostile campus climate for minority students at the University of California. Hoku Jeffrey, BAMN national organizer said, “Two years ago, black, Latina/o, Asian and white students protested a series of blatantly racist incidents on a number of UC campuses. We intend to build a campaign on every campus of the UC to end the racist exclusion of Latina/o, black and Native American students that feeds the hostile environment that led to those incidents.”
Two developments this summer have created great momentum for the campaign. The first was the decision on July 1, 2011 by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals striking down an identical initiative in Michigan. The second was the July 8, 2011 decision by California Governor Jerry Brown to file an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit supporting BAMN’s challenge to Proposition 209.
Shanta Driver, attorney and National Chair BAMN said “these developments bring nearer the day when the doors of California’s and the nation’s best colleges and universities are again open to the tens of thousands of talented Latina/o, black and Native American students who have been excluded by ballot measures like Proposition 209.”
In 2003, BAMN organized a demonstration of 50,000 people outside the Supreme Court on the day of the arguments in Grutter v. Bollinger (University of Michigan affirmative action case). Driver said “We intend to build similar demonstrations in California to ensure that Proposition 209 is struck down.”
Legal Documents from the Case: