UC Regents Sued For Consumer Fraud Over Race-Based Admissions

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A pre-filing unsigned copy of the lawsuit plus the data exhibits is in this PDF file.

A public interest lawsuit was filed today accusing the Regents of the University of California of consumer fraud over race-based admissions procedures at UC law and medical schools, that include the medical schools at UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UCLA, UC San Francisco, UC Davis and the law schools at UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

The state Superior Court suit, filed in downtown Los Angeles, (Allan J. Favish v. The Regents of the University of California, case no. BC129082) alleges that UC law and medical schools charge an application fee but fail to disclose the extent to which an applicant's chance for admission is affected by his or her race.

The lawsuit was brought in the public interest by Tarzana attorney Allan J. Favish, who is also the sole plaintiff. Favish said: "Great universities are supposed to encourage a search for truth. I want the University of California to tell prospective applicants the truth before it takes their money."

The suit asks the court to order the schools to print tables in their application materials that show prospective applicants how many individuals in recent years applied for and were offered admission, categorized by grades, test scores and race. "These tables will allow consumers to decide for themselves whether the time and cost of applying is justified by their chances for admission," Favish said.

The suit includes examples of such tables using data from the 1994 entering classes of most of the University of California's law and medical schools. Favish obtained the data from the publicly-funded schools after suing the Regents under California's freedom of information law, the California Public Records Act.

Based on the schools' own data, the consumer protection suit reveals the following:

UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) offered admission to every black applicant with both a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 or above and a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) percentile score of 90 or above. Only 42 percent of white applicants in the same GPA and LSAT range were offered admission.

UC Berkeley School of Law offered admission to all four black applicants having both GPAs of 3.25-3.49 and LSAT percentile scores of 70-74.9. None of the 34 white or 12 Asian applicants in the same GPA and LSAT range were offered admission.

At UC Davis School of Law all 3 black applicants having both GPAs of 2.75-2.99 and LSAT percentile scores of 70-74.9 were offered admission. None of the 12 white and 11 Asian applicants in the same GPA and LSAT range were offered admission.

UC Davis School of Law offered admission to 15 of 29 black applicants with both GPAs of 2.5-3.49 and LSAT percentile scores of 60-89.9. None of the 503 white applicants in that same GPA and LSAT range were offered admission.

At UCLA School of Law, all 10 black applicants and 2 of 15 Hispanic applicants having both GPAs of 2.75-2.99 and LSAT percentile scores of 75-79.9 were offered admission. None of the 29 white and 13 Asian applicants in the same GPA and LSAT range were offered admission.

UCLA School of Law offered admission to 61 percent of black applicants having both a GPA of 2.5-3.49 and an LSAT percentile score of 60-89.9. Only 1 percent of the white and 7 percent of the Asian applicants in the same GPA and LSAT range were offered admission.

For applicants with an LSAT percentile score of less than 75, UCLA School of Law offered admission to only 1 of 761 white applicants while 52 of 448 Hispanic and 68 of 392 black applicants were offered admission.

Hastings College of the Law offered admission to only 7 of 724 white and 6 of 269 Asian applicants having both a GPA of less than 3.25 and an LSAT percentile score of 30-89.9. Hastings offered admission to 37 of 215 Hispanic and 39 of 140 black applicants in that same GPA and LSAT range.

UC Irvine School of Medicine offered admission to 3 out of 22 applicants who were either black, Hispanic, Native American Indian or mainland Puerto Rican, having both pre-med GPAs of 2.75-2.99 and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) biology and chemistry percentile scores of 42-57. None of the 78 white or Asian applicants in the same GPA and MCAT range were offered admission.

UC Davis School of Medicine offered admission to 39 percent of applicants who were black, Hispanic, Native American Indian or mainland Puerto Rican, having both MCAT biology and chemistry percentile scores of 87 and above and pre-med GPAs of 3.5 and above. Only 14 percent of the white or Asian applicants in the same GPA and MCAT range were offered admission.

UC San Diego School of Medicine offered admission to 33 percent of applicants who were black, Hispanic, Native American Indian or mainland Puerto Rican, having both MCAT biology and chemistry percentile scores of 73-86 and total GPAs of 3.25 and above. Only 3.5 percent of the white or Asian applicants in the same GPA and MCAT range were offered admission.

UCLA School of Medicine offered admission to 27 out of 513 applicants who were either black, Hispanic, Native American Indian or mainland Puerto Rican, having both pre-med GPAs of 3.24 and below and MCAT biology and chemistry percentile scores of 93.4 and below. None of the 1,096 white or Asian applicants in the same GPA and MCAT range were offered admission.

Favish explained: "Generally speaking, if you are a B or C student you are wasting your money applying to UC law and medical schools if you are white or Asian, while if you are black or Hispanic you have a realistic chance for admission. If you are an A student, being black or Hispanic is a significant advantage."

The lawsuit also includes as exhibits portions of UC application materials stating that UC does "not discriminate on the basis of race, color, [and] national origin" in "admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities."

The suit alleges that contrary to these representations, the Regents' "past and present practice is to admit and reject applicants based to a significant extent on the applicants' race, color, national origin and/or ethnicity" and these practices "are likely to mislead applicants and the general public about an applicant's chances for admission, constituting unfair, untrue, deceptive, fraudulent and misleading conduct" under California Business & Professions Code § 17200.

California B&P Code § 17203 allows a court to prohibit any person from engaging in "unfair competition" as defined in § 17200. Section 17204 allows any person to bring an action under § 17200 on behalf of the general public.

Alleging that applicants are required to pay a fee when submitting an application but are not adequately informed of the extent to which their race affects their chances for admission, the suit seeks restitution of application fees paid by any applicant rejected for admission to UC law and medical schools since approximately 1967 "whose chances for admission were decreased by virtue of their race, color, national origin and/or ethnicity, plus interest," under section 17203.

Favish explained: "The data I've revealed in this lawsuit does not show which students actually enrolled, but it does show the grades, test scores and race of the applicants the schools offered to admit, and that is what is important for the consumer to know before he or she spends their money."

Favish concluded: "The suit does not address the issue of whether UC's racial preferences should be abolished. It simply says that whatever UC does, it must tell the truth to the consumer."

P.S. As of June 6, 1995, this press release, the complaint, the index to exhibits, and the exhibits to the complaint, can be downloaded from Compuserve by going to the Legal Forum, then into the Hot Topic library. Find the file having an upload date of 6/6/95 (or 6/12/95, see below) and the title "Consumer Fraud Lawsuit Against University of California Regents." The file is a zipped file that consists of 3 Microsoft Word for Windows (ver. 2) files and 1 Microsoft Excel for Windows (ver. 5) file. The files can be extracted using PKUNZIP (v. 2.04 or later).

However, as of approximately June 12, 1995, this zipped file was replaced by a newer file that included some relatively minor corrections to the medical school tables and charts and this press release. Therefore the upload date of the file to download may be approximately 6/12/95.

On June 30, 1995, a zipped file containing the same information (using PKZIP v. 1.01) became available on America Online, in the Legal Information Network (aka LIN) library, under the title "Fraud Suit Against UC."