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UC regents apologize to black students over racial incidents

March 24, 2010 |  6:10 pm

University of California leaders on Wednesday apologized to black UC San Diego students for recent racial incidents at the campus and proposed changes in admissions policies aimed at boosting enrollment of minorities across the system.

UC President Mark G. Yudof and other UC regents acknowledged that the UC San Diego episodes, including an off-campus student party that mocked Black History Month, has brought attention to the low enrollment of African American students on the campus.

About 1.6% of UC San Diego undergraduates are black, among the lowest figures for any UC campus. The UC leaders promised to help create campus environments in which minority students feel more comfortable. Speaking during a regents meeting at UC San Francisco, Yudof said he wanted all UC campuses to adopt an admissions process known as “holistic” review, in which applicants’ test scores and high school grades are considered in the context of their life experiences and personal accomplishments.

“I want a system that is less mechanical and takes a serious look at a range of talents and skills and history, and takes into account poverty,” Yudof said.

Holistic review is permitted at the university, but Yudof said he would like it to be required at all nine UC undergraduate campuses.

UCLA and UC Berkeley now use the approach most extensively, while others, including UC San Diego, rely on a more rigid formula that allows less consideration of personal accomplishments and, Yudof said, may unfairly reject otherwise academically eligible low-income and minority students.

Such a change would need approval by the system-wide faculty senate, something that will be under discussion within a few months, officials said.

--Larry Gordon in San Francisco