UC race-blind admissions mark 10 years

first_imgMeanwhile, Florida, Texas and Michigan have rewritten admissions rules, and colleges nationwide are bracing for more change with Ward Connerly, the UC regent who started it all, taking his campaign for race-blind admissions to more states next year. “The legacy of California’s consideration of this issue … has been a national front on the issue of equity in American society,” said David Hawkins, public policy director for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “This debate just will not go away.” Connerly agrees. “If things unfold the way I am predicting they will unfold, I think we are witnessing the end of an era,” he said. The debate over affirmative action begins with how one defines the term. To Connerly, it’s a system of “racial preferences” that he argues only drives a wedge between people. To his opponents, it’s a way of recognizing that not every student starts out with the same advantages – that poor schools, often attended by high numbers of minorities, may not have enough teachers, textbooks or even desks to go around. The debate came to UC in 1995 when, in a bitterly contested 14-10 vote, the system’s governing Board of Regents voted to stop looking at the race of applicants, a change effective for graduate students in 1997 and for undergrads the following year. In 1996, Connerly took the movement statewide, chairing a successful Proposition 209, which banned consideration of race in public hiring, contracting and education. A similar measure passed in Washington state in 1998. Texas affirmative-action policies fell in 1996 with a federal appeals court ruling. In Florida, Connerly launched a campaign similar to Proposition 209. Then-Gov. Jeb Bush opposed the measure as divisive, but implemented his own “One Florida” plan eliminating the use of race or gender in public hiring, contracting and higher education. Affirmative action struck back in 2003 with what seemed to be a major victory. The Supreme Court, ruling in two University of Michigan cases, said race could be used to a limited extent in college admissions. But Connerly and his supporters promptly countered with a successful initiative campaign last fall banning consideration of race in Michigan admissions. What has it all meant? In Texas and Florida, lawmakers guaranteed eligibility to high school students who graduate at the top of their class (top 10 percent in Texas, top 20 percent in Florida). UC has a similar program, but on a smaller scale, guaranteeing eligibility to the top 4 percent of graduating classes. In Florida, figures released last fall showed that black students made up 13.7 percent of enrollment in state universities, compared with 14.2 percent when One Florida was implemented in 1999. Hispanic enrollment increased from 14.1 percent to 16.9 percent. At the University of Texas at Austin, minority enrollment dropped after the 1996 federal court ruling, but has since rebounded. Last fall, 1,914 black students enrolled compared with 1,911 in 1996. At the University of Michigan, officials say they won’t defy the ban on race-based admissions, but they won’t give up on diversity. “We don’t believe that we can deliver a 21st-century education if we’re not a diverse learning community,” said Julie Peterson, associate vice president for media relations and public affairs. The year Brooks became a critical mass of one, there were 14 other black students admitted to UC’s Boalt Hall School of Law, but none attended. He’d been admitted the year before but deferred admissions, putting him in the doubly uncomfortable position of being the last black student admitted under the old affirmative-action policies. Boalt has made changes since 1997, stepping up recruitment, asking students to write longer personal statements and looking at students’ socioeconomic background. Last fall, 13 black students enrolled in the incoming class, a big increase from 1997 but still below the mid-’90s totals of 20 or more. “The bottom line on Proposition 209, from where I sit, is it has continued to suppress enrollment,” said Ed Tom, director of Boalt admissions. “It certainly has not expanded the number of African-American applications we have received over time.” Does it matter if the numbers of black students dip at elite campuses? “Not to me it doesn’t,” said Connerly, “as long as all of our kids have an equal chance to get an education.” UC administrators have responded to the tumbling numbers by revising admissions policies to take a more comprehensive view of candidates by considering their economic background and whether they overcame hardship. But critics say the campuses still don’t represent California as a whole. And more blacks and Hispanics are graduating from high schools now than 10 years ago, meaning the gap between those numbers and UC enrollment has widened. “When segments of the population are missing in the classroom, it’s less than what we consider to be ideal,” said Susan Wilbur, director of UC’s undergraduate admissions. “We are no better today as a proportion of our total class than we were in 1995.” Interestingly, Asians, who did not benefit under affirmative action, now make up 36 percent of admissions, up from 33 percent in 1997. At Berkeley, Asians are the biggest ethnic group, making up 39 percent of last fall’s freshman class. That makes Asians overrepresented, since California is roughly 44 percent white, 35 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Asian and nearly 7 percent black. Connerly thinks the growth in Asian admissions since ’97 shows they were being discriminated against before. These days, Brooks can stroll the halls of Boalt Hall without qualms. His first visit wasn’t so easy. Administrators helped to alleviate outside pressures by screening mail and dealing with numerous interview requests. And he survived, making friends, passing classes and becoming president of his third-year class. After the first year, another black student transferred in. Still, the pressure never really went away. Brooks remembers sitting on the law school steps looking at a sheet of Boalt bar passage rates broken down by race. “I remember thinking, `Well, that’s going to be fun when I take the bar,”‘ he said. “It’s either going to be 100 or zero.” In 2000, he did pass the bar (“I studied doubly hard”) and began working as a lawyer. Partly because of his experiences, he became active in diversity issues, serving on the state bar’s ethnic minority relations committee for some years. Brooks says affirmative action may change, but he doesn’t think it’s time to banish the concept. “I think that it’s useful in that it remedies past discrimination,” he said. But Connerly thinks “most Americans are with me. They realize that this thing has probably outlived its usefulness and it’s just a question of how it’s going to end and when it’s going to end, not whether it’s going to end.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BERKELEY – A fit of spring cleaning led Eric Brooks to a box of old newspaper clips. Inside were stories from 1997, when he was the lone black student to enroll in UC Berkeley’s incoming law school class after the end of affirmative-action admissions. He didn’t read those newspaper clips. The box doesn’t hold pleasant memories. “I felt bad for myself at the time because of my situation, but worse for the people who were denied admission,” Brooks said. “That ate at me for my entire time there.” Ten years later, a lot has changed. The numbers of black and other underrepresented minorities at the University of California have rebounded at the undergraduate level, although they haven’t kept pace with high school graduation growth for those groups. At the same time, there’s been a redistribution within the system, with more blacks and Hispanics going to lesser-known branches of the 10-campus system and fewer to the flagships of Berkeley and UCLA, a trend that troubles some. last_img

Wärtsiläs Engines to Power Four New LNG Carriers

first_imgzoom Finnish technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted to deliver 16 engines for four new LNG carrier vessels being built at the Hudong Zhonghua shipyard in China.Under the order, booked in August 2017, the company’s joint venture CSSC Wärtsilä Engine (Shanghai) Co would deliver the engines to the yard starting in the second half of 2018.Each of the four 174,000 m3 capacity vessels will be fitted with four Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel generating sets running primarily on LNG fuel to provide the ships with auxiliary power. Their total power output will be 56 MW.The LNG carriers are scheduled to be delivered commencing in 2019. According to data provided by VesselsValue, the ships are being built for Japan’s shipping major Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).Wärtsilä informed that its 34DF engine, which features advanced dual-fuel technology, is used for both main engine and generating set applications. The Wärtsilä 34DF is manufactured in configurations from 6L to 16V, giving 500 kW per cylinder and a total maximum mechanical output of 8000 kW. The engine speed is 720 / 750 rpm.last_img read more