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California Votes to Continue Affirmative Action Ban

This Oct. 30, 2020, photo shows a billboard ad for the 2020 California Proposition 16 - End Diversity Ban, in Inglewood, Calif. California voters defeated Proposition 16.
This Oct. 30, 2020, photo shows a billboard ad for the 2020 California Proposition 16 - End Diversity Ban, in Inglewood, Calif. California voters defeated Proposition 16.

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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Campus protests cause some students to rethink US colleges

FILE - Students continue to maintain a protest encampment in support of Palestinians on the Columbia University campus April 24, 2024, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in New York City.
FILE - Students continue to maintain a protest encampment in support of Palestinians on the Columbia University campus April 24, 2024, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in New York City.

Campus protests at U.S. colleges, and the accompanying unrest and violence, are causing some international students to rethink their plans to study in the United States.

Writing in the Straits Times, Vihanya Rakshika reports that safety concerns are motivating parents to look elsewhere for their children’s higher education. (June 2024)

Which schools have biggest alumni networks?

FILE - In this March 14, 2019, photo, students walk on the Stanford University campus in Santa Clara, Calif.
FILE - In this March 14, 2019, photo, students walk on the Stanford University campus in Santa Clara, Calif.

In addition to considering the cost and reputation of a school, prospective students should consider alumni networks – connected graduates who can help with the job search once classes are complete.

Writing in University Magazine, Anwar Abdi takes a look at the 25 U.S. universities with the largest alumni networks. (June 2024)

Report: Number of college dropouts remains high

FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.
FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.

Enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is increasing, but the number of dropouts remains high, according to a report in the Chronicle of High Education.

Amanda Friedman writes that more former students are returning to school, but many want shorter-term programs, such as certificate programs. (June 2024)

Xi wants more exchanges between US, Chinese universities

FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.

Mutual understanding between China and the United States can be improved by having more university exchanges between the two countries.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese President Xi Jinpin told Xinhua News Agency that exchanges could develop young ambassadors who understand both countries. (June 2024)

Students learn protests can affect job prospects

FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.
FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.

Some students in the U.S. are learning their public stances on the Israel-Hamas war are having an impact on job prospects.

Financial Times reports that protest activities are turning up in background checks, and employers have revoked employment offers to students as a result. (June 2024)

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