Photo: Gov. Brown Says No to Affirmative Action-Like Bill for California Colleges and Universities
California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed Senate Bill 185, which would have allowed public universities in his state to consider race, gender, and ethnicity during the admissions process.
Though Gov. Brown vetoed the affirmative action-type bill, he said he did not disagree with the spirit of the bill, but could not sign it.
“I wholeheartedly agree with the goal of this legislation. [However], I must return the bill without my signature. Our constitutional system of separation of powers requires that the courts—not the Legislature—determine the limits of Proposition 209.” He added, “Signing this bill is unlikely to impact how Proposition 209 is ultimately interpreted by the courts; it will just encourage the 209 advocates to file more costly and confusing lawsuits.”
In recent weeks, school groups have showed their opposition to the bill. The Berkeley College Republicans even made national headlines when they announced they would be holding a so-called satirical bake sale in protest of SB 185 in which based on the customers’ ethnicity, the price for the same items varied. If white, the buyer would have to pay the most, with Native Americans paying the least, and black and Hispanic paying prices between the two. The sale, was not found amusing by students of color, who called the sale racist and insensitive.
In response to the announcement of Gov. Brown’s veto, Berkeley College Republicans President Shawn Lewis said on the group’s website, “I am pleased with the governor’s decision to veto this bill. SB 185 was an attempt to undermine the will of the voters who passed Proposition 209 in 1996. Indeed, a September 26 Survey USA poll showed that 77 percent of Californians opposed this specific piece of legislation. The people of California believe, as does the Berkeley College Republicans, that college admission decisions should be based on the qualifications of the applicant and the individual challenges he or she has faced, not based on his or her race.”
In 1996, Proposition 209 was passed and stated that state, local governments, districts, public universities, colleges, and schools, and other government instrumentalities are prohibited from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to any individual or group in public employment, public education, or public contracting on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.