Allan Favish is a Los Angeles-based attorney whose focus is on General Insurance Defense and Litigation Insurance Coverage/Reinsurance & Bad Faith Litigation. A UCLA graduate, he received his J.D. at Hastings College of Law in 1981.
University of California President Richard Atkinson plans to delay implementation of the new racial and sexual nondiscrimination admissions policy adopted by the UC Regents last July. According to press reports, one of the reasons for the delay is the time it takes to modify application materials to make them truthful about the application process. However, as the attorney who is presently suing the Regents for consumer fraud over the content of UC law and medical school application materials, I am skeptical about UC's professed concern for the truth.
According to the January 25, Los Angeles Times, interim UC Provost Judson King said, "it is crucial to update the application and informational material because those documents are legally binding. `We're held to what they say. The wording has legal importance,' he said."
This concern for the truth is odd given the fact that UC does not appear to have any problem with the fact that its application and informational material presently states that UC "does not discriminate on the basis of race ... This nondiscrimination policy covers admission ..."
As I have argued before the court, if UC was truly committed to telling the truth in its application and informational materials it would replace its present statement with the following:
"The University of California discriminates on the basis of race in admissions in order to achieve a degree of racial diversity in its student body that would not be achieved without such discrimination. It is the University of California's position that such discrimination does not violate state or federal law. The extent to which the objectively quantifiable factors of race, grades and test scores affect an applicant's chance for admission is best illustrated by the data tables presented herein (for example, the data tables attached as exhibits to the first amended complaint in Favish v. Regents of UC). The admissions decisions reflected in the tables may also reflect additional factors that are not objectively quantifiable, such as employment history, extracurricular activities, demonstrated ability to overcome disadvantaged circumstances, community service, etc., that also may affect an applicant's chance for admission."
The regents, through their lawyers, have told both the superior and appellate courts that their present statement of racial and sexual nondiscrimination is truthful. Of course, if their present statement is truthful, there was no reason for the regents to vote as they did last July.
The lawsuit is currently before the California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles because a Superior Court judge agreed with the regents that the prohibition on fraudulent advertising found in California Business & Professions Code § 17200 does not apply to state agencies. The public deserves the opportunity to read for itself what the regents have said to the courts about the truthfulness of their present application and informational materials and compare it to UC's recent public pronouncements. The lawsuit's data exhibits and both parties' appellate briefs, are available for downloading from the World Wide Web at the following address: "http://www.acusd.edu/~e_cook/" (do not use quotation marks).
The truth is that while UC delays implementation of a true racial and sexual nondiscrimination admissions policy, purportedly because of a concern for the truth, the university is spending taxpayers' money to fight a lawsuit that seeks to force it to be truthful in its application and informational materials. While all great universities, especially those that are publicly financed, should have the search for truth as part of their central mission, UC's commitment to the value of truth is subordinate to other concerns. UC perpetuates racial and sexual discrimination by invoking the value of truth with one hand and dishonoring the value of truth with the other hand.
Published by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals, January 30, 1996. The Daily Journals are newspapers especially targeted at the legal community.
It should also be noted that in the published article, the Daily Journal misprinted the World Wide Web address that is given in the article. The correct address appears in this electronic version of the article. (The Daily Journal substituted a space for the underscore character ("_") between the "e" and "cook". The Daily Journal also printed the address on two lines and inserted a hyphen in the "http" part of the address.)