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UCLA: A diversity conference built for the Prop 209 era

Writes Alexander Cain: “Anderson faces the challenge of ignoring (race, sex and ethnicity in admissions decisions), but still striving for diversity.”
Alexander Cain (UCLA '17)
Alexander Cain (UCLA ’17)

It’s been 20 years since California voters approved Proposition 209, which bans governmental institutions involved with public employment, contracting and education from considering race, sex or ethnicity. The start of that era compelled the University of California, Berkeley, to leave The Consortium—only to return when revised eligibility requirements for The Consortium made it possible.

When Berkeley returned in 2010, the University of California, Los Angeles, also joined The Consortium, and has worked tirelessly to increase its population of underrepresented minorities. Last month, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management hosted its annual diversity conference. Consortium student Alexander Cain (’17) shared his perspectives on that experience in a UCLA Anderson blog post.

“Anderson faces the challenge of ignoring (race, sex and ethnicity in admissions decisions), but still striving for diversity,” Cain wrote. “I believe Anderson provides great support for diverse applicants because the UCLA Anderson administration—which includes Alex Lawrence (’99), Kimberly Freeman (’02), Gary Fraser and Vickie Euyoque, among many others — is itself diverse.”

Cain said he participated in Anderson’s Embracing Diversity Conference Nov. 17-19 “to tell my Anderson story, gain an understanding of the pressing challenges among new prospects and give back to my community of African-Americans.”

Highlights from the Experience

Cain shared a few of the insights he found significant.

  • The whole event defied his experience with past diversity events, which often speak about diversity of thought, without a multicultural array of participants, or parade a diverse set of participants with little thought to the underlying significance of valuing diversity.
  • He was grateful to hear about support from Anderson for initiatives such as a Black Lives Matter fireside and its investment in The Consortium.
  • “Anderson Afternoons,” a weekly happy hour, gave prospects a chance to ask candid questions about the community at UCLA.
  • Prospective students were excited to hear from Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors and the first prominent sports executive who is openly gay—a C-suite executive sharing his experience and the challenges he faced.

Read more of Cain’s report from UCLA Anderson’s Embracing Diversity Conference.

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