Diversity Matters: How UC Davis Is Working to Increase Diversity

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Encouraging Progress, More Work to Do

 

By Melissa Blouin, UC Davis News

Diversity, equity and inclusion is one of the highest strategic goals of the University of California, Davis. It’s a key priority of our 10-year strategic plan, To Boldly Go. We’re committed to improving access and building a sense of community for all marginalized populations.

As a top research university with a public service mission, it’s important that the composition of our students, staff and faculty reflect the increasingly diverse population of California. To achieve this goal with students, we have implemented strategic engagement, recruitment and yield plans that focus on relationship building with campus, school and community partners. These efforts are aligned with our third strategic plan goal, which aims to make UC Davis a model for diversity and inclusion.

Enrollment growth among marginalized populations

As a result of the university’s strategic diversity initiatives, we have made progress in enrolling new undergraduate African American and Chicanx/Latinx students since 2000.

We’ve seen a steady increase in our Chicanx/Latinx new student enrollment. In 2000, 1,980 undergraduate students — 9.9% of the domestic total — were Chicanx/Latinx. In 2018, Chicanx/Latinx undergraduates totaled 6,885, or 27% of the domestic total. Between 2000 and 2016, UC Davis saw an average annual growth rate of 8.9% among incoming enrolled students who were Chicanx/Latinx. That’s an average yearly increase of 93.3 students per year.

The number of African American undergraduates also increased. Between 2000 and 2016, there was an average annual growth rate of 3.3% among African American incoming enrolled students, or 2.4 per year on average. In 2000, 552 undergraduate students — 2.7% of the domestic total — were African American. In 2018, 679 undergraduates were African American.

UC Davis has taken a number of steps to improve African American student enrollments. We’re working with partners, including Umoja and our African and African American Alumni Association, to create a community of support. We’ve also developed strong retention programs on campus to support these students after they arrive at UC Davis.

We’ve engaged programs, such as “Improve Your Tomorrow,” to build the needed support systems that will improve access and attainment of baccalaureate degrees for men of color.

Looking ahead

In May, the UC Board of Regents eliminated the use of the SAT and ACT in applications for admission by California high school students. We anticipate some improvement in our recruitment efforts for students of color by eliminating these tests, which we know to be biased.

We’re projecting increases in historically underrepresented minorities for fall 2020. We are also working to improve yield and reduce melt for all of our underrepresented minority students. Successful efforts to improve our Latinx population will serve as a model for continued improvement with other populations.

Proposition 209 prohibits the consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public education in California. This creates challenges for us as we try to be equitable and practice inclusive excellence to attract the best and brightest students from different cultural, racial, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The UC Davis Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, our student success centers and other initiatives across both campuses continue their work to advance our culture of inclusiveness among students, faculty and staff. We’re committed to creating a campus environment that is diverse, inclusive and equitable for all.

We recognize there is more work to do, but the signs of progress are encouraging. We’re working to make UC Davis a top choice for students of all backgrounds to pursue an affordable education and make a difference in the world.


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59 thoughts on “Diversity Matters: How UC Davis Is Working to Increase Diversity”

  1. Keith Olsen

    As a top research university with a public service mission, it’s important that the composition of our students, staff and faculty reflect the increasingly diverse population of California.

    I agree.  Whites currently only represent 28% of the UC Davis student enrollment but California’s white population is at 38%.  So whites are one of the most underrepresented races in UC Davis according to CA demographics.  So I would expect this to be part of the diversity plan in order to reflect the increasingly diverse population of California.

    Also, since we’re at it, UC Davis is currently 59% female and only 41% male when the CA demographics show an even gender split, near 50%-50%.

    So taking it a step further, more white males need to be enrolled under this program in order to reflect the increasingly diverse population of California.

     

  2. David Greenwald

    Guys: it really helps if you stay on topic.  When you go off-topic that’s when cat fights develop.  Please read but don’t respond to this.

    1. Keith Olsen

      David, do you agree with my comment above?  If the goal is to actually reflect our diverse CA population wouldn’t that involve enrolling more white males along with some other races in order to achieve that?

        1. Keith Olsen

          But the article states the goal is to “reflect the increasingly diverse population of California.”  So how does under representing whites especially white males achieve this goal?

          1. David Greenwald

            If you stop reading there… Everything else is geared toward marginalized populations. What it says is that their goal is to make UC Davis a model for diversity and inclusion and that as a result of strategic diversity initiatives, they have made progress in enrolling new undergraduate African American and Chicanx/Latinx students since 2000. The reason why they aren’t focused on white males is that there is no structural reason why white male populations are dropping in the UC.

        2. Keith Olsen

          Secondly, who gets the ax in order to admit more Latinx and blacks?  Since there are only so many spots available who gets cut?   Asians?  Do whites become even more marginalized?

          1. David Greenwald

            Correct. White males I believe are the second highest income bracket. They also have disproportionate influence in all levels of government and in leadership positions in business.

          2. David Greenwald

            Congress is 78 percent white and 75 percent male.
            California’s legislature is 55% white 69 percent male
            Fortune 500 companies – 22 women CEOs, no Black

            Just an illustration

        3. Ron Oertel

          The reason why they aren’t focused on white males is that there is no structural reason why white male populations are dropping in the UC.

          Why are their relative populations dropping in the UC system?  (I don’t know the answer to that.)

        4. Ron Oertel

          Exactly Ron, that’s why asked David if that meant whites will become even more marginalized under this initiative, or pushed aside.

          Purposeful affirmative action accomplishes that.

          How would anyone like to lose a job opportunity due to their skin color, gender, etc.?

        5. Ron Oertel

          California voters will have a historic chance on Nov. 3 to decide whether race, ethnicity and gender can again be considered in admissions at the state’s public universities and in government contracts, possibly overturning a 24-year-old ban on such affirmative action.

          https://edsource.org/2020/state-senate-action-allows-california-voters-to-decide-on-affirmative-action/634455

          I always love it when voters are allowed to make decisions regarding civil rights.

          Usually results in lawsuits.

          1. David Greenwald

            In 1996, the voters passed Prop 209. In order to undo that, the voters would have to vote to change it.

    2. Bill Marshall

      For the record, the drift sometimes is initiated by you, David… to mitigate against further ‘drift’, i leave it there… you, I, and several others would benefit from the corollary of “measure twice, cut once”…

      “compose, and review twice (preferably waiting an hour or two between reviews… reduces jerks of the knee) , post once…” [also tends to remove the ‘problem’ of the sporadic “shot clock” issue…]

      From my end, will work on it… I am not innocent on that…

  3. Ron Oertel

    Correct. White males I believe are the second highest income bracket.

    Who is the first?

    They also have disproportionate influence in all levels of government and in leadership positions in business.

    Could be.  Try explaining that to some young white (or Asian) male who is bypassed for college enrollment or a job.

    Again, there’s lawsuits regarding this stuff.  I didn’t closely follow the results of that.

     

    1. Alan Miller

      White males I believe are the second highest income bracket.

      Who is the first?

      I don’t know, but they must be oppressors and have supremacy to be #1, whomever they are.

  4. Ron Oertel

    I can tell you that federal agencies are often led by women, at least at the regional level (from what I’ve witnessed, at least).

    And if you travel to Washtington D.C., you might notice a significant number of African-American federal employees.

    Although I don’t officially “keep count” of such characteristics.

    1. David Greenwald

      It doesn’t look like your observation has an empirical basis. The report I see shows that women are underrepresented in the federal workforce.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I didn’t claim an empirical basis.

        Truth be told, I would think that the ability to bear children is always going to have some impact on women’s careers, on average.  It often results in an interruption in careers, for one thing.

        And, childcare duties are disproportionately performed by women, as well.  (Though there’s plenty of individual examples these days where that’s not the case.)

         

  5. Ron Oertel

    Thought I’d take a look.  I vaguely recall this, and didn’t realize that it involved UC Davis’ Medical School!  Interesting.

    Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978), was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. However, the court ruled that specific racial quotas, such as the 16 out of 100 seats set aside for minority students by the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, were impermissible.[1]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regents_of_the_Univ._of_Cal._v._Bakke

  6. Ron Oertel

    Ultimately, I don’t believe that most people (e.g., on an individual basis) are willing to be discriminated against (especially “legally”) for the sake of achieving some representative sample of a given population.

    And, despite what I suspect is a desire to “pin this” all on white males, formal affirmative action would negatively impact other groups (such as Asians, or “some” Asians), as well. Perhaps even more so.

    (The comment at 6:04 p.m. above can be deleted, as it’s a duplicate of an earlier comment.)

    1. David Greenwald

      This is part of the problem – we need to re-think the way we conceptualize this.  Affirmative action doesn’t discriminate against anyone.  It acknowledges the systemic legacy of racism and sexism in our society and so it re-weighs the scale slightly to accommodate that.  Understanding that marginalized groups have been discriminated against in the past, that they may have lesser experiences in their past, helps us to properly evaluate their actual qualifications.

      1. Ron Oertel

         Affirmative action doesn’t discriminate against anyone.

        It absolutely does or can (e.g, regarding a given number of enrollments allowed at a university, or a given job vacancy, for example).

        I didn’t read the Bakke case above in detail, but I believe that “discrimination” is exactly what it was about.

        As far as what your article discusses (e.g., eliminating test results), that’s a different thing.  But, what is it then “replaced” with, regarding “qualifications”?

        I brought up the movie “Lady Bird”, the other day (in regard to a different subject). However, there is also a very brief reference in it regarding preferential enrollment essentially based upon skin color (via the name of one of the characters).

        De-facto age discrimination (regarding employment) is also a theme of the movie, to some degree.

        1. David Greenwald

          “It absolutely does or can ”

          That’s your opinion, and given that you haven’t read Bakke, you might want to inform your opinion better. Bakke balanced the need to rectify past dicrimination against the policy of having set asides, which I agree probably were discriminatory. Bakke allowed race to be a factor as long as it wasn’t the sole factor. So the way they did affirmative action in colleges before 1996 was they took the top score for the first 60 percent of enrollees. Then they create a scale that included race and gender among other things and re-scaled the applicants and allowed the top ones in. I don’t see that as discriminatory at all. It is simply acknowledging that not everyone has had the same opportunities and that needs to be taken into account.

          1. Don Shor

            So the way they did affirmative action in colleges before 1996 was they took the top score for the first 60 percent of enrollees.

            Also worth noting that many colleges always, for decades if not centuries, gave preference in admissions to the children of alumni. Affirmative action always existed for kids of the wealthy, who were overwhelmingly white.
            I was attending UCD throughout the time that Bakke filed and ultimately prevailed here. The exact same arguments were being made then against affirmative action, with little awareness or acknowledgment of the extraordinary degree of preference given to white children of wealthy parents. In subsequent decades, those admission practices became common knowledge. At that point, some form of affirmative action becomes almost a system of redress for decades of discrimination.
            But it also tells you how little progress we’ve made that I’m reading nearly the same arguments on this blog that I heard when I was living in the dorms in 1974.

        2. Ron Oertel

          That’s your opinion

          David, this isn’t an “opinion”.

          It is a fact that if someone is denied entry into a college (or doesn’t get a job) due to skin color, gender, etc., then that by definition is discrimination.  It’s as simple as that.

          And if qualifying factors include characteristics such as skin color and gender, then someone will, in fact, “lose out” as a result of those characteristics.  (Unless there’s an unlimited number of enrollments or job vacancies.)

           

          .

        3. Ron Oertel

          But it also tells you how little progress we’ve made that I’m reading nearly the same arguments on this blog that I heard when I was living in the dorms in 1974.

          That’s because all of what you state is true, as well.

          I don’t view denial of truth as progress. I view suppression of truth as regression.

          But one thing that is likely different these days (in particular) is the rise of the Asian community on campuses and in employment.  And women (probably disproportionately white or Asian). But again, I’m not keeping count as closely as some.

        4. Keith Olsen

          the extraordinary degree of preference given to white children of wealthy parents. 

          Well obviously that’s not occurring much today being that whites are underrepresented by 27% at UC Davis when compared to the CA race demographics.

        5. Keith Olsen

          So David are you saying that wealthy white parents are getting their kids into UC Davis at such a high rate that they’re underrepresented by 27% to their CA demographics?  I think that data says it all.

  7. Bill Marshall

    Congress is 78 percent white and 75 percent male.California’s legislature is 55% white 69 percent maleFortune 500 companies – 22 women CEOs, no Black

    Gets to the crux… to ‘remedy’ that should we be restricting those who run for office, and those considered for promotion in private firms?

    The Davis congressional district has pretty much been white males… should we restrict candidates to ‘POC’, and/or women?

    We’ve had two white women in the Senate (from CA) for many years… now we have one who you may describe (based on previous post by you as to ‘multi-racial’ status) as ‘passing’…

    You seem to avoid citing CA congressional composition (US Senate or House of Reps)… either to race/ethnicity or gender… reason not to cite those #’s?

    Meant as honest questions…

    1. David Greenwald

      Bill – the point wasn’t to offer a remedy, it was to illustrate the power differential that white men still have using actual statistics.

    2. Bill Marshall

      David, what do YOU propose as a ‘solution’… have little respect for those, particularly in the matter of politics, given a Political Science degree, and advanced study, who point out “bad problems” but do suggest concrete (or plausible, or ANY) solutions to those ‘problems’…

      Just saying… or, are you just venting, or posturing?

      1. David Greenwald

        Again, I offered those stats to explain the other point. I’m not prepared to go way off topic here and address a very complex issue.

        1. Keith Olsen

          So David, you didn’t answer.  Since there are only so many spots limited at UC Davis who gets reduced so the Latinx and black student numbers can go higher.  Less Asians?  Less whites who are already underrepresented by 27%?  What’s the solution?

          1. Don Shor

            Since there are only so many spots limited at UC Davis

            That’s actually a fallacy. They can increase or decrease the number of spots available. When ordered to add more spaces for California residents, UC did so without reducing the numbers of other spots. Hence the enrollment increases we’ve experienced here. It is not, in fact, a zero-sum game. The pie can be bigger if they wish to make it bigger.

          2. David Greenwald

            You seem to want to focus on this point. And I get it. But I think you need to reconceptualize how you think about this problem. Think Moneyball. Baseball. Standard metrics say you used to pay people who have good batting average, homers and RBI’s – baseball card stats. And we learned when we used advanced metrics that we were missing a lot of value by counting baseball players based on those stats. We’re doing the same thing with admissions when we focus on GPA (which can be inflated) and SATs (which are culturally biased). Just as we don’t discriminate against the player who has a low WAR but good baseball card numbers, we’re not discriminating against people when we take other factors into account that equalize the playing field for marginalized communities.

        2. Ron Oertel

          we’re not discriminating against people when we take other factors into account that equalize the playing field for marginalized communities.

          What factors are those?  And, can “white” or “Asian” people have them, for example?

          1. David Greenwald

            It would depend. The law that existed in 1994 no. Personally I would be supportive of a LOW SES box or a parents not in college box.

        3. Keith Olsen

          It’s discrimination, there’s no other way to put it.  When someone is denied a position strictly because of their skin color it’s called discrimination, pure and simple.

        4. Ron Oertel

          I wonder what factors they use right now in regard to skin color, etc.

          In the movie I referred to, there’s a line similar to – “I’m sure they didn’t know, Miguel“. Delivered with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

          1. David Greenwald

            Prop 209 eliminated that. So what this article shows is that universities had to become creative.

        5. Bill Marshall

          Explaining UC stats by bringing in State, Federal, CEO stats?  Really?

          What percentage of UC grads go on to be in the State or Fed Gov’t?  Or CEO’s or on boards of private firms?  Really?

          Sniffs of “drift” to me … actually smelling to ‘high heaven’… and you and only you,  initiated that drift…  my comment stands..

          Mirror time, David…

        6. Ron Oertel

          When ordered to add more spaces for California residents, UC did so without reducing the numbers of other spots.

          They got an “extra payment” from the state to do so.

          They had been essentially “discriminating against” California residents, based upon the color of money (from non-resident students).  😉

          The one color that overrides skin color, nationality, etc.

          1. David Greenwald

            There is always an excuse not to add more people of color. Don’t you find it funny that you are always on that side?

        7. Ron Oertel

          The comment you were responding to had nothing to do with skin color.

          But, you are attributing something to me that I have neither said (nor think).

          I don’t, however, support attributes such as skin color, gender, etc., being used as qualifying factors.  In reality, I don’t think that many people (on an individual level) would support losing out an enrollment opportunity, a job, etc., due to such factors. I’m sure that some wouldn’t object, but I suspect they’re in the “minority”. (Is that a pun? Not sure.)

          I would, however, say that I’m at least somewhat amused that this can’t be pinned solely on white males, anymore (e.g., regarding disproportionate enrollments). And as Keith noted, apparently the opposite is true. (Not sure why, though.)

        8. Ron Oertel

          Maybe you can do the research and get back to us.

          Maybe it’s hidden from full public view?

          (Regarding the factors used to offer enrollments, and whether or not skin color, for example, comes into play.)

  8. Alan Miller

    The reason why they aren’t focused on white males is that there is no structural reason why white male populations are dropping in the UC.

    And . . .

    the voters passed Prop 209. In order to undo that, the voters would have to vote to change it.

    Would legalizing affirmative action become a structural reason why white male populations would be dropping in the UC?

  9. Bill Marshall

    Personally I would be supportive of a LOW SES box or a parents not in college box.

    OK… I agree, as written… opportunity… support… am there…

    Should others be excluded to accommodate that, or should we be looking for ‘inclusion’ for all?  Particularly in the near term, say next 5-10 years?

    You do realize, of course, David, that you were ‘privileged’, right?  You got into SLO, UCD Masters program… back ‘in the day’… suspect your parent’s income and situation were better than mine… I needed high GPA (yeah, biased towards whites [your view]), high SAT scores (yeah, you consider them racist), high ranking in the NMSQT’s (likewise) to afford college… only way I and my parents could afford college for me [me working in HS]… (got a tuition scholarship) but you are “special”… and ‘deserving’… by ‘privileged’ status…

    Got it…

     

     

     

    1. David Greenwald

      Absolutely. In fact, here’s a tale of two people – grew up in SLO, son of a professor and a school teacher, lived in an upper middle class white community, went to Cal Poly and then UC Davis. Then there’s my wife, the youngest of 8, lived in a one room house in Colusa for her first three years that didn’t have an indoor toilet, daughter of farmworkers, mother fled in the middle of the night with her seven children and moved to Chico to live with the oldest. No surviving baby photos of her. Mother worked as a domestic, which was a step up from farmwork. When she went to community college and UC Davis, she was only the second child in her family to go to college. We end up again in the same place (literally) but look at what she had to do to get there compared to me. So if your metric doesn’t take that into account, then you’re not capturing the essence the person. It’s why I don’t mind supporting a system that on paper might not advantage me because I had all of the advantages the moment i took my first breath.

  10. Alan Miller

    3.3% among African American incoming enrolled students, or 2.4 per year on average. In 2000, 552 undergraduate students — 2.7% of the domestic total — were African American. In 2018, 679 undergraduates were African American.

    I talked to one of my sisters friends from UC Davis at her memorial service a few years back.  He was a year or two older than my sister and told me that the year that he started (that would have been ’66 or ’67), he was one of SEVEN black students enrolled at UC Davis.

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