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Professor questions UCLA admissions

August 29, 2008 12:04:55 PM PDT
A UCLA professor has resigned his seat on an admissions committee after accusing other members of cheating to illegally admit more black students.In an alleged bid to make UCLA more diverse, a political science professor suspects admissions may be cheating to illegally admit more African American students.

That is the concern at the heart of professor Tim Groseclose's report -- questioning the school's practices.

"It is still a bit of a black box to me. I do not know exactly what is going on in these decisions," said Professor Groseclose.

Groseclose, who was on the UCLA Faculty Oversight Committee, says the problem is in the schools application essay, which students often admit their race. He says that could be used to help make decisions.

Proposition 209 bans public state universities from using race as an admissions criteria.

UCLA says its admissions policy and practices adhere to all state laws and UC regulations.

UCLA released this statement:

UCLA's admissions policies and practices were developed to scrupulously adhere to state law and UC regulations. The university remains committed to the highest ethical standards and openness and transparency in establishing and maintaining admissions policies in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

The admissions process has many safeguards to ensure fairness to all applicants and compliance with state law. For example, approximately 55,000 applications are distributed randomly to more than 160 trained readers, and there is no way for a reader to know who else is reviewing the same application. Two trained readers score each application, and if one score is inconsistent with another, the application is reviewed by a senior reader.

Nevertheless, UCLA several weeks ago initiated a comprehensive study to analyze the effect of the holistic review admissions process and ensure its continued consistency with state law. Funding has already been approved and a researcher selected to conduct the study. To ensure fairness, the review is being conducted independent of the Academic Senate's admissions policy-setting body. The concerns expressed by Professor Groseclose will be addressed in the study.

UCLA stringently follows state and federal law and university policy protecting the privacy of student applicants and governing the release of personally identifiable information. The university's admissions team has offered to work with Professor Groseclose to provide data meaningful for use in his own analysis -- within the constraints of privacy laws but going well beyond what would be required by the California Public Records Act. It is unfortunate that Professor Groseclose has chosen to make allegations against the university rather than work with staff to arrive at a solution.

Groseclose says he was denied access to the data he needed for his investigation. He resigned Thursday from the oversight committee and went public with his concerns.

"The main thing that is frustrating is the lack of transparency, the resistance I received to getting the data. And just to learn what exactly is going on in the admissions decisions," said Groseclose.

"If there are people being excluded from coming to our campus because of something that is going on in the administration, of course I would like to know," said student, Cameron Zimora.

 

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