Senator Hernandez Introduces Amendment to California Constitution

December 5, 2012

Senator Hernandez Calls for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
Introduces Amendment to California Constitution

West Covina, CA --- State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D. introduced an amendment to California’s Constitution this week, SCA 5, which would repeal those portions of Proposition 209 that prohibit the consideration of race in recruitment, admissions, and retention programs by state universities and colleges. 

“As far as California’s students are concerned, Prop. 209 has been a complete failure” said Hernandez, “We have more than 15 years of history showing our campuses have become less diverse, and qualified high school graduates are being overlooked and ignored as a result of this unsuccessful experiment.”   

Since Prop. 209’s passage in 1996, there has been a significant drop in the percentage of underrepresented minority students enrolled in both the California State University system (CSU) and the University of California campuses (UC).  Recent reports show California high schools graduating increasing numbers of UC and CSU eligible minority students, yet we are seeing less diverse student bodies on college campuses.

“Proponents of Proposition 209 argued that we could address longstanding racial disparities in our education system by ignoring race, but the facts speak for themselves.  You cannot address inequality by refusing to acknowledge it” added Hernandez, “California’s public universities and colleges should have all tools at their disposal to ensure their campuses reflect the demographics of our state.”

Senator Hernandez believes the increasing diversity of California, as well as recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding university programs in other states where race is used as a factor, makes this the right time to ask voters to revisit Prop. 209 and ask whether it is really the best prescription for our state. 

“This is about the long-term benefits college degrees bring to students and their families.  It’s about graduating the well-trained, diverse workforce we need to compete in a global economy” remarked Hernandez, “And most importantly, it’s about equal opportunity for California’s young people.”