California Dems Push Bill Paving Way To Free College Tuition For Black Students

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Feb 16, 2024 - 06:00 PM

Authored by Jennifer Kabbany via The College Fix,

A bill making its way through the California legislature could, if approved, pave the way for free college tuition for black students and other perceived marginalized communities.

ACA-7 passed the state Assembly in September and sits before the Democrat-controlled Senate. If approved there, it would be put before voters this November.

The bill would effectively allow the governor to circumvent the state’s longstanding ban on racial preferences first passed by a majority of voters in 1996 with Proposition 209 and reaffirmed in a 2020 referendum.

The measure would allow the governor to use the state’s coffers to fund research-based or culturally specific programs if they increase the “life expectancy of, improving educational outcomes for, or lifting out of poverty specific groups based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, or marginalized genders, sexes, or sexual orientations.”

Calif. Assemblymember Corey Jackson, who sponsored the bill, stated in a news release his proposal would address “systemic disparities” and “create positive change and improve outcomes for those disproportionately affected by systemic racism and discrimination.”

But in practical terms, it could pave the way for free tuition for black students and other perceived marginalized communities, said Gail Heriot, a University of San Diego law professor who leads the No on ACA-7 effort.

She said in an interview with The College Fix the measure is touted as a way to “decrease poverty among particular groups,” and it would give the governor the power to exempt certain groups from state laws outlawing racial preferences if a study shows the exemption would help.

“They have worded it as if it’s a small exemption,” said Heriot, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“It actually is a huge exemption.”

The measure cannot overcome the recent Supreme Court ruling banning affirmative action, but it could, for example, be used to propose racial preferences for financial aid or faculty hiring, she said.

Other possible exemptions could be made for public contracting and employment.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, William McGurn argued the new bill shows “the lesson the advocates of state-sponsored discrimination have taken from their defeat is that if at first you don’t succeed, try something sneakier.”

The Orange County Register editorial board has also come out against the bill.

“We urge the Senate to turn down ACA 7,” the board stated in its Jan. 9 editorial.

“The Legislature has more important things to do, such as dealing with a $68 billion budget deficit, than foisting on voters an initiative that would be defeated, or thrown out in court.”

petition launched by the No on ACA-7 group argues that if it becomes law, “present and future governors will be able to make as many exceptions as they like, so long as they can find ‘research’ that says it’s okay to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, etc.”