Affirmative Action Debate ignites at Cal State
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Debate ignites
at Cal State

by Brian Caulfield

HAYWARD-Hayward State University anthropology professor
Glynn Custred's high profile campaign to repeal affirmative
action has made this campus ground zero in the heated
statewide debate over affirmative action.
A panel of professors, students and activists challenged
Custred and his proposal Jan. 17 before a room packed with
students, faculty and media.

Students who watched the debate say it will shake up the
state as a whole just as it has rocked their campus. One
student, Edward Miranda, pointed out that Hayward State-with
a diverse mix of minorities who outnumber whites and many
students who already work full time-is a true microcosm of
society.

Custred co-authored the so-called California Civil Rights
Initiative (CCRI), which would amend the state constitution
to ban public schools and employers from granting jobs,
promotions and college admissions to applicants based on
their race, gender or ethnicity.

"What we have now is not equal opportunity, but equal
results enforced by a bureaucracy," Custred told the crowd.
He described white men as victims of affirmative action and
said preferential treatment was "balkanizing" society.
Asked how he can describe white men as victims of
affirmative action, when studies have shown white males
occupy 90 percent of all top corporate jobs, Custred said
some ethnic groups were more "culturally motivated" than
others.

"If you look at men and women there are a lot of life
decisions made that give results in different status
proportions," Custred said. "You cannot go against these
cultural forces and make it come out the same-it won't
work," he said.
Anthony Ratcliff, a student who works with affirmative
action outreach programs, said that although "people like
Custred say they want to judge people only on merit, and
people like Doctor Murray [author of "The Bell Curve"] state
that blacks have 15 percent lower IQ- I feel these two views
are starting to merge."

IMPACT ON CSU
Passage of the CCRI would end many programs at California
State University and University of California campuses. For
example passage of the CCRI would mean that Hayward State
might have to eliminate:
 EOP, which is designed for low income and ethnically
diverse students;
 the summer bridge program designed to help underrepresented
groups adjust to college life;
 a minority engineering program;
 student affirmative action;
 scholarships for black and Latino students;
 graduate equity programs.

"I'm an Equal Opportunity Program (EOP) student from an
underrepresented background, and I have supported myself
since 1987," said Miranda. "These are good programs that get
people who may not be from the mainstream into the
workplace," he said.

"Hopefully it [CCRI won't pass, but if it does not only our
campus, but every campus will be outraged," said Mimi Wong.
She said students are networking with the community to come
up with proposals to defend affirmative action and educate
people about it. Members of women's, African-American,
Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander student groups recently
formed Concerned CSU Students Against CCRI to move this
process forward. For info: (510) 881-3901.