Things Fall Apart
After the passage of comprehensive review, Keith
faculty chairman of the Academic Senate's admissions committee,
admitted to the Bruin
SAT-I scores would now rank last on a reader's priorities.[i]
reprioritization was in response to UC President Richard Atkinson’s
successful campaign to win a greater admissions emphasis on the SAT-II
subject tests. These exams included, not coincidentally, the
language SAT-II, aced in great numbers by desirable (and bilingual)
minority Hispanic students. The move away from the SAT-I also
greater emphasis on the personal statement, the forum in which
applicants present tales of woe to explain a lack of academic
In fact, UCLA gives credit in the life challenges
problems ranging from immigration hardships, living in a high-crime
neighborhood, being a victim of a shooting, or long-term psychological
difficulties. Other oft-cited examples include poverty,
parents, or involuntary after-school commitments like caring for a sick
parent or working a job to support family. Not surprisingly,
of UCLA’s targeted life challenges correlates strongest (though of
course not exclusively) with minority applicants.
Setting aside the motivation for choosing these
challenges, there is an unstated assumption which underlies them.
Namely, that applicants who have overcome great challenges and achieved
– however modestly, as the numbers show – deserve a boost.
Berkeley admissions director Carla Ferri’s own words, UC schools desire
“students that can tackle the academic programs with enthusiasm, with
strength, with purpose.”[ii]
How do teenage schizophrenia, gunshot wounds, or a
home in the
ghetto serve as particular qualifications to meet the stated
challenge? Nobody can rightly have a dispute with slight
for students who overcome great
obstacles to achieve great
things. But that’s not UCLA’s system. To get minority
numbers up, the
records show that the UCLA admissions office headed by director Vu Tran
is admitting students who have overcome exaggerated
obstacles to achieve minor
things. And to make an even more unpopular point, the very same
traumas for which UCLA assigns bonus points also correlate to students
most at a disadvantage for achieving in the university’s academic
In several press accounts, former UCLA admissions
director Rae Lee
Siporin admitted that the radical diversity lobby wears race-colored
glasses. After Proposition 209 depressed minority admissions at
Berkeley and UCLA, Siporin and other self-appointed social engineers
considered an admissions process incorporating pure socioeconomic
preference as a boost to applicants from a background of poverty.
the plan was rejected after their modeling yielded too many low income,
high-achieving Asians and whites, while failing to properly plump up
the number of minorities.
The modeling for comprehensive review generated more
results. This system assigned particular importance to
activities, and allowed minority applicants to pervert the personal
statement into a written river of tears, blaming their lack of
qualifications on external limitations. By indexing for academic
failure instead of mere poverty, comprehensive review achieved the
desired ethnic numbers.
But other than the candor of Siporin (now retired),
Diversitistas have suffered from sudden amnesia and refuse to admit
that the motive for comprehensive review was bringing up minority
numbers. Those struck by this selective erasure of memory
Chand Viswanathan, 2001 UCLA Academic Senate chairman, who defended
less-qualified minorities by arguing that they “were very intelligent,
but [their intelligence] was not reflected”[iii] in their scores.
Along with trotting out that tired argument, current UCLA admissions
director Vu Tran argued that seemingly unqualified “students in the
very low range (of SAT scores)” deserve admission because “they still
demonstrated academic excellence in spite of environmental
conditions.” What Tran asserted is that while students are
with low SATs, they make up for it with superior GPAs. His
is not based on fact.
As a review of the Fall 2002 UCLA admits and denials
GPA for both admits and denials rises with every 100 point range on the
chart – from 3.43 for the 7 admitted students with a 701-800 SAT, 106
students with SATs from 801-900, 412 students from 901-100, on up to
4.43 for the 958 admitted students with a 1501-1600 score. At the
time, though, UCLA rejected 191 students with a 1500+ SAT score, and
1455 students in the 1401-1500 SAT range.[iv] Which is all well
good until you look again and are reminded that students with
stratospheric scores are being rejected in favor of vastly
underqualified students scoring in the sub-1000 score range.
the underperforming students admitted by Tran may very well have been
demonstrating excellence, but not as much excellence as the thousands
of denied students with both higher GPAs and higher SATs.
For those still disbelieving, other UCLA statistics
existence of differing standards of “excellence” depending on
For the Fall 2004 class of new freshmen, African-Americans scored an
average 1091 SAT and 3.67 GPA, while Chicanos scored 1128 and
contrast, whites scored 1325 and 4.13, with Asians at 1328 and
4.17.[v] The difference is stark enough to be irrefutable.
and Viswanathan continue to dissemble – a disappointing but typical
inclination. In the world of UCLA admissions, such deception is
– burying the reality of racial preferences under an avalanche of words.
Chapter 4 - Are
You a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5?
[ii] “Barriers Students Faced Count In University Admission Process,”
by Daniel Golden, The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2002