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Prop 209 up for possible repeal, met with mixed reactions

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(Image from

The California Senate recently passed a measure that would give voters the option to repeal Proposition 209, an initiative passed in 1996 that prohibits public educational institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity in acceptance decisions.

The measure to repeal the proposition was introduced by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, and sparked a debate between Democrats and Republicans about public institutions. The Democrats believe that Proposition 209 has hampered opportunities for Latino and African American students to get into college. Republicans believe that the way to make college attainable for more students of color is to improve the K-12 schools in their communities.

Danielle McGuiness, a sophomore at UC Berkeley, felt that in the end Proposition 209 doesn’t even begin to get at the real problem. 

Students raise questions about
potential repeal of Prop 209

“Keep Prop 209, repeal Prop 209; neither action will satisfy both sides nor solve the very, very complex problem we face,” McGuiness said. “The inequality in higher education does not exist because schools are allowed or prohibited to grant admission based off of what box a student checked on his or her application; the inequality rests in how our system is built—so let’s start there.”

Because Mills is a private college, its admissions will not be effected if Proposition 209 is repealed, but the admissions process is similar to that of public universities. 

Melissa Carlson, a former Mills student and current UC Berkeley student, believes that students should be admitted on the basis of academics rather than personal factors. 

“It’s simple. If a student is smart and talented, he/she should be accepted regardless of race, ethnicity and sex,” Carlson said.