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Ban on Affirmative Action in California Dropped Admission Rates of Black Law Students

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Summary: A new study from a UC Berkeley economics professor has found that admission rates for black students at the UCLA and UC Berkeley law schools dropped after the affirmative action ban was enacted in the state of California in 1996.

The affirmative action ban from 1996 in California cut black admission rates to UC Berkeley and UCLA law schools by half, according to a report from The Daily Californian. A recent study found that applicants are deterred by the ban, which has caused the drop in admission rates.

The study was released last month by Danny Yagan, an assistant professor of economics at UC Berkeley. The study discovered that even though the ban did not affect the law school’s admissions rate for blacks, it did drop the number of black students who applied to the school.

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Admission rates of black students dropped from 61 percent to 31 percent at UC Berkeley and UCLA.

The ban on affirmative action took effect in November of 1996 when the state’s constitution was amended to prohibit preferential treatment on the basis of national origin, race, ethnicity or sex in education and public employment.

Yagan said that this caused black students to apply at other law schools that use affirmative action.

“The results support what UC administrators originally warned: high levels of racial diversity while staying elite requires race-based affirmative action,” Yagan said.

Susan Gluss, a spokesperson for UC Berkeley School of Law, said that the enrollment of black students dropped by 95 percent immediately following the ban being put into place.

“Socioeconomic affirmative action only gets an elite school so far toward racial diversity unless the school substantially cuts back on using test scores and GPAs in admissions,” Yagan said.

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