Sunday, May 15, 2005


When senior Stephanie Ramey tried to sign up online for Math 243 Calculus for Business and Social Science for spring term she was denied access and informed she would have to contact the class professor. The professor asked her to contact the Office of Multicultural Academic Support about enrolling in his class. A staff member at the office said she couldn't register for the class because she doesn't identify as a minority, Ramey said.

Ramey, who tried to get into the section because it was the only one available, was told that if she wanted to be in the class, she'd have to show up at 7:45 a.m. Monday, the first day of classes, and meet with an adviser before she could enroll, she said. "I guess I was just really surprised and irritated because I thought I had a right to get into the class too. ... I guess I felt a little bit discriminated against," Ramey said. "For a sophomore math class, I shouldn't have to wait just because I'm white."

Ramey attempted to enroll in one of six University classes this term that reserve the first 10 slots in an 18-student class for minority students, while requiring others who want to get into the class to arrive on the morning of the first day of class and meet with an adviser before being allowed to register for the remaining eight slots. The OMAS pays for and controls three lower-division math and three lower-division English classes that allow fewer enrolled students and provide more individualized instructor attention. While other sections of Math 242 and Math 243 this term have an average of 115 students for lectures, 29 students for discussions and 35 students for integrated classes, the OMAS classes had a maximum of 18 students. The general Writing 121 and Writing 122 sections had an average of 25 students per class, and the OMAS sections were again restricted to 18 students.

Linda Liu, advising coordinator and academic adviser for OMAS, said the classes are meant to offer a safe haven for minority students and give struggling students a chance to work more closely with professors.

But Edward Blum -- senior fellow at the conservative Virginia-based Center for Equal Opportunity, which monitors education policy and has filed complaints with the federal government about race-exclusive programs at universities across the nation -- said the policy is illegal. "I can say it 10 different ways, but it's illegal, and the Department of Education will shut this down if it's brought to their attention," Blum said. Blum said the policy amounts to a "very fast, hard quota system that will never stand up in court" and is similar to the University of Michigan undergraduate racial quota system struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.

Students must identify as being African-American, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, Chicano/Latino, Native American or multiracial to enroll in the first 10 slots. The OMAS confirms all students' racial identifications with the Office of the Registrar, Liu said......

Roger Clegg, general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, said in the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision, the Supreme Court "made it clear setting aside slots on the basis of race is illegal." "The legality aside, it's just wrong," Clegg said. "It's divisive to tell students you're not going to be considered because of your skin color ... I hope that the University will look at the law and will reconsider the policy."

More here, And Marc Miyake is not surprised by the above story.


A seething Sledmere swimmer has been left high and dry after she was told her friends would be banned from their regular Friday lunchtime trip to the baths. Pensioner Florence Corbett has been going to Dudley Leisure Centre at the same time every week for years. But last month she was notified her favourite 12pm to 1pm slot would be restricted to women-only swimming.

The 77-year-old claimed the move was to allow for Islamic laws which forbids men and women from swimming together. Florence said the religious regulations meant her pals - many of whom attend with their husbands - would be forced to look elsewhere for their weekly workout. She said: "I have lived in the Black Country for 50 years and have been swimming regularly. "We always go to Dudley on a Friday and play badminton from 10am to 12pm, then go in the swimming pool until 1pm. "We found out about this three weeks ago and first of all we were told it would be for Muslim women only. "But we kicked up a bit of a fuss and now it seems they are going to let us women in too. "Nevertheless we are still very angry and annoyed about it."

Florence said blinds had been put up which can be drawn across to block the view of the pool from a coffee room, while female assistants would supervise the women-only sessions. She added: "They drew the blinds today but there were no Asian women in anyway. "No man can go in and I think its disgusting. "When people talk about integration I feel that just means pushing us out."

Council spokesman Phil Parker said: "We have responded to a demand from the community and decided what we needed to encourage females to take up swimming. "One session a week between 12pm and 1pm has been set aside for women-only while the rest of the week the pool is open to all."



Speakers at San Francisco public meetings can be angry, passionate, even disagreeable in their remarks -- but they can't utter discriminatory comments, the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday. The 11-member board unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by President Aaron Peskin that stemmed from an April 4 Building Inspection Commission hearing in which some members of an influential builders group said a female city employee was not fit to run a department because she is pregnant. The employee, Amy Lee, has since been appointed acting director of the Department of Building Inspection. "The intent of this resolution is to make a clear statement that discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, weight, height or place of birth will not be tolerated in San Francisco city government," said Peskin, who himself has endured unkind comments about his short stature.

One such comment has been lobbed by no other than Joe O'Donoghue, the head of the Residential Builders Association, who is mentioned by name along with his group in Peskin's resolution. "It's the angry dwarf, that's all this is," O'Donoghue said, using one of his derogatory monikers for Peskin. He added that he had another name for the supervisors' president: Heinrich Peskin -- as in Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler's top aide. "Essentially, this is a smear campaign," O'Donoghue said. "What a waste of government time to engage in such extraordinary action regarding free speech." Peskin, however, emphasized that his resolution was not an attempt to attack free speech, of which, he pointed out, San Francisco has traditionally been a champion. "We must make every possible effort to maintain basic decorum and integrity in our public forum," he said. "Failure to do so has the same chilling effect as stifling free speech."

Also addressed by the resolution was a poem written by O'Donoghue and published on his group's Web site that called into question Mayor Gavin Newsom's heterosexuality. "The clear intent of this poem was to ridicule the mayor by questioning his sexual orientation in the same fashion a schoolyard bully might tease a peer," Peskin said. O'Donoghue, undaunted, said he was in the middle of crafting another ode.

More here

No comments: