Back in 2018, Crist announced her plan for U.C. Berkeley to become a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by 2027, and in May 2019, she ordered the creation of a Hispanic Serving Institutions Task Force “In May 2019, she ordered the creation of a Task Force on Hispanic Serving Institutions and a roadmap to achieve this plan by 2027.
In her December 2020 report on the HSI plan, Crist identified this priority plan as one of the boldest goals in the campus strategic plan. By 2027, at least 25 percent of the university’s undergraduate students will be self-identified as “Chicano/Latino.
This is intended to help Berkeley attract and retain members of a diverse community, the report states. “The Hispanic Serving Institutions Task Force will implement the plan in three phases over the period 2020-2027. The goal of the third phase (2025-2027) is to apply for HSI designation.
On March 15, the California Coalition for Equal Rights (CFER), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, sent a formal letter to the Chancellor of U.C. Berkeley regarding the university’s announcement of a racial quota program with clear priorities. The letter strongly condemned, “The 25 percent Hispanic quota is illegal, unconstitutional, misguided and a self-serving attempt at financial gain.”
“It is appalling that you (the chancellor and task force) have adopted an illegal plan to explicitly pursue racial quotas at the expense of achievement and equal opportunity.” In the letter, CFER condemned Chancellor Crist and her task force for their racially biased practices and called on UC Berkeley to strictly comply with federal and California law and stop the plan for racial quota admissions.
The topic of racial admissions is particularly sensitive in California, where 57 percent of California voters voted down the racially charged Referendum 16 (Prop 16) in last November’s general election, thanks to CFER’s primary leadership and the efforts of volunteers from all sides.
In other words, Californians can continue to enjoy equal opportunity to compete under the law. California’s current Proposition 209 prohibits race and gender from being a factor in public university admissions, government job hiring and contracting.
All students, regardless of race, ethnicity or national origin, deserve equal protection under the law in their pursuit of Education,” said Grace Li, vice president of CFER. For an institution as prestigious as UC Berkeley to openly flout the law and prioritize racial predation is disgusting and dangerous.”
In addition to California law, the CFER letter states that UC Berkeley’s “Hispanic Serving Institution” program violates the equal protection of the law under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and also violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which explicitly prohibits private universities that receive federal funds from being admitted on the basis of race. that discriminate on the basis of race, color, and national origin.
In its letter, CFER added: “More importantly, the racial quota program does nothing to address the true root causes of racial disparities in K-12 education and therefore does not advance the interests of the targeted student population, while scapegoating hardworking students from disadvantaged groups.”
As outlined in the Hispanic Serving Institutions Initiative report, the percentage of Hispanic students at UC Berkeley in 2020 is 17.9 percent, about 7.1 percent short of Crist’s proposed quota standard.