Affirmative Action on Campus

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With so many controversial buzzwords surfacing in the latest editions of the New University, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share some insight I have regarding some of the politically charged issues affecting all of us on campus.
My name is Jacob Green and I am the new administrative intern in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity here on campus.
While many of you may know the office for its complaint resolution services, I have learned that the primary goal of the office is community education.
I will therefore attempt to debunk some of the most common affirmative action myths in hopes that it will shed light on recent campus events and accusations.
Myth: Proposition 209 eliminated affirmative action and equal opportunity.
Fact: Proposition 209 eliminated the preferential treatment component of affirmative action programming. The goal of taking affirmative action to ensure nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all remains constant.
Myth: Since Proposition 209, the university no longer values diversity.
Fact: The university upholds and celebrates diversity as described in the ‘Principles of Community’ statement found on the Chancellor’s Web site. The university values a multicultural community in which diverse backgrounds enhance the learning, teaching and research environment.
Myth: UCI gives extra consideration to minority applicants in the admissions process.
Fact: Comprehensive review in the admissions process considers all elements of a candidate’s profile without taking an applicant’s race, ethnicity or gender into account. Comprehensive review includes considering a student’s academic achievements, public service accomplishments, special talents and interests, and life experiences.
Myth: Minorities have a better chance of getting hired and promoted at UCI.
Fact: UCI employees are hired and promoted based on their qualifications and the needs of the department. Hiring and promoting an individual who is not qualified would only damage the integrity of the department and may be considered a violation of the university’s ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’ statement.
This policy of nondiscrimination ‘applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, merit increase, salary, training and development, demotion and separation’ (taken from UCI Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy Regarding Academic and Staff Employment).
Myth: OEOD is concerned only with affirmative action.
Fact: OEOD employs a team of highly-trained staff to examine university hiring practices, investigate claims of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment, educate the community through interactive presentations, and provide guidance to departments struggling to maintain diversity.
These are just a few of the proactive ways that UCI ensures excellence and equity.
Hopefully, this information will help clarify some of the recent campus controversies and encourage community members to draw more accurate conclusions about the benefits of affirmative action and equal opportunity.
This brief examination does not reflect the total depth of the debate, but provides a starting point for continued discussion. I encourage any interested students, staff and faculty to contact OEOD for additional information or to request a presentation to further clarify these issues.
As I continue to learn more about the needs of campus members, I hope to share additional information in future issues of the New University.

Jacob Green is a third-year social science major. Questions or comments? Contact Jacob Green at jsgreen@uci.edu or OEOD at (949) 824-5594.

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