UC MEDICAL SCHOOLS: Will Investigate Drop in Minority Applications
Only 59 black and Mexican-American students enrolled at University of California medical schools this year, down 43% from 103 in 1993, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports. The drop has spurred UC President Richard Atkinson to appoint a task force "to investigate why enrollment dropped although offers to underrepresented minorities increased." The decrease appears to correspond to the 1996 passage of Proposition 209. Cornelius Hopper, chair of the task force, said, "The continuing decline in enrollment of underrepresented students is particularly disturbing in view of the increasing diversity of the state and the university's prior record in this area." Of the 569 first-year students who enrolled at the state's five medical schools, 196 admission offers were made to minority students -- a 30% jump from the 151 offers made in 1998. Oddly, however, the offers accepted by underrepresented students dropped by almost 13% -- from 72 in 1998 to 63 in 1999. This year's class includes 36 Mexican-Americans, 23 blacks, three Puerto Ricans, and one American Indian. Kevin Nguyen of the American Civil Rights Institute argued that Proposition 209 has impacted the medical school selection process greatly, saying, "Surely [the repeal of affirmative action] had some effect because, logically, when you take away the crutch of race preferences, which propped up these medical admissions figures, you'll see to what extent race was a controlling factor in admissions" (10/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.