SB 185, the “affirmative action” bill, was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last Saturday. The bill would have allowed college admissions to take ethnicity and gender into consideration during the admissions process. Brown cited existing Proposition 209 for his decision on the controversial bill.
Proposition 209, passed in 1996, delineates that college admissions shall not factor ethnicity and gender into their decision. Brown cited Proposition 209 and SB 185’s contrast as a reason for his veto. Their opposition could have resulted in costly litigation, an implication Brown wished to avoid.
“Signing this bill is unlikely to impact how Proposition 209 is ultimately interpreted by the courts; it will just encourage the 209 advocates to file more costly and confusing lawsuits,” Brown wrote.
In his letter to the members of the California State Senate vetoing Senate Bill 185, Brown expressed his support for the general sentiment and aspirations of the bill.
“I wholeheartedly agree with the goal of this legislation,” Brown wrote. “Proposition 209 should be interpreted to allow UC and CSU to consider race and other relevant factors in their admissions policies to the extent permitted under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Brown’s veto comes after the satirical bake sale held by Berkeley College Republicans earlier this month. The group’s bake sale satirized the Affirmative Action-like bill by scaling prices based on gender and ethnicity. The price scale was outlined on their Facebook page, with whites paying $2.00 and various price breaks for females, blacks, Asians, Latinos and Native Americans.
The bake sale was highly scrutinized nationwide and the controversial event catalyzed numerous actions on the UC Berkeley campus.