California Votes to Continue Affirmative Action Ban
A public vote to reinstate affirmative action in admissions at public universities in California failed in this week’s elections.
Supporters of Proposition 16 hoped the state would return to allowing race and gender to be a factor in admissions at public universities, but the measure was defeated 56% to 44%.
Ten U.S. states have banned such a policy – known as affirmative action: California, Texas, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Idaho.
With nine universities and 285,000 students, the University of California system is the largest in the United States. In 1996, it was among the first university systems to ban affirmative action.
University of California students had lobbied to reinstate the policy. The proposition was supported in the state’s urban San Francisco and Los Angeles regions, but not in the rest of the state.
“Having a diverse student body is an integral part of a holistic, world-class education,” Chaka Tellem, a student at the University of California-Berkeley and a senator in the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), told the Berkeley News.
“For Berkeley to be such a prestigious university and have such a prominent and innovative status in the world, it’s important that we make sure that the campus community reflects not only the diversity of California, but the world,” Tellem said.
Voters approved the affirmative action ban in California 24 years ago along with a ban on using race and gender in hiring decisions in state government and contracting.
In addition to being the largest public university system in the U.S., the University of California system hosts more international students than any other state.
Of the more than 1 million international students enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education in the 2018-2019 academic school year, 161,693 attended college or university in California, the No. 1 state destination for foreign students.
Among those international students, 42% come from China and 12.6% from India.
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Former US Congresswoman Liz Cheney Urges Graduates Not to Compromise With the Truth
Former U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney implored new college graduates to not compromise when it comes to the truth, excoriating her House Republican colleagues for not doing enough to combat former President Donald Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen.
In a commencement speech at Colorado College, the Wyoming Republican repeated her fierce criticisms of Trump but steered clear of talking about his 2024 reelection campaign or her own political future.
Cheney, who graduated from Colorado College in 1988, recalled being a political science student walking into a campus building where a Bible verse was inscribed above the entrance that read, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
"After the 2020 election and the attack of January 6th, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie. They wanted me to say the 2020 election was stolen, the attack of January 6th wasn't a big deal, and Donald Trump wasn't dangerous," Cheney said Sunday in Colorado Springs, connecting her experiences as a student to her work in the U.S. House of Representatives. "I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership."
In three terms in office, Cheney rose to the No. 3 GOP leadership position in the House, a job she lost after voting to impeach Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol and then not relenting in her criticism of the former president.
Cheney's speech touched on themes similar to those she has promoted since leaving office in January: addressing her work on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and standing up to the threat she believes Trump poses to democracy. She also encouraged more women to run for office and criticized one of the election-denying attorneys who worked for Trump after the 2020 election for recent remarks about college students voting.
"Cleta Mitchell, an election denier and adviser to former President Trump, told a gathering of Republicans recently that it is crucially important to make sure that college students don't vote," Cheney said. "Those who are trying to unravel the foundations of our republic, who are threatening the rule of law and the sanctity of our elections, know they can't succeed if you vote."
In an audio recording of Mitchell's presentation from a recent Republican National Committee retreat, she warns of polling places on college campuses and the ease of voting as potential problems, The Washington Post reported.
Most students and parents in the audience applauded throughout Cheney's remarks, yet some booed. Some students opposing the choice of Cheney as speaker turned their chairs away from the stage as she spoke.
Cheney's busy speaking schedule and subject matter have fueled speculation about whether she may enter the 2024 GOP presidential primary since she left office. Candidates ranging from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have calibrated their remarks about Trump, aiming to counter his attacks without alienating the supporters that won him the White House seven years ago.
Though some have offered measured criticisms, no declared or potential challenger has embraced anti-Trump messaging to the same extent as Cheney. She did not reference her plans on Sunday but has previously said she remains undecided about whether she wants to run for president.
Though she would face an uphill battle, Cheney's fierce anti-Trump stance and her role as vice chairwoman of the House committee elevated her platform high enough to call on a national network of donors and Trump critics to support a White House run.
A super PAC organized to support of her candidacy has remained active, including purchasing attack ads on New Hampshire airwaves against Trump this month.
After leaving office and being replaced by a Trump-backed Republican who defeated her in last year's primary, Cheney was appointed to a professorship at the University of Virginia and wrote "Oath and Honor," a memoir scheduled to hit shelves in November.
Two of Cheney's five children as well as her mother are also graduates of the liberal arts college.
Cheney's speaking tour appears to be picking up. She is scheduled to appear Thursday at the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan.
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