California Students Propose Initiative to `Provide Equal Opportunity’ - Higher Education


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California Students Propose Initiative to `Provide Equal Opportunity’

by Diverse Staff

BERKELEY, Calif.

In response the anti-affirmative action
referendums and policy statements which have become the law of the land
in the state of California, students here have crafted the Equal
Educational Opportunity. Initiative (EEOI) in hopes of getting it on
the ballot in November.

The new initiative states: “In order to provide equal opportunity,
promote diversity, and combat discrimination in public education, the
state may consider the economic background, race, sex, ethnicity, and
national origin of qualified individuals.”

The goal of the students, who come from almost every campus in the
state and have banded together to form the Students for Educational
Opportunity (SEO), is to gather 1 million signatures by April 17 to
qualify for the November ballot. To qualify, 800,000 signatures are
required.

More than 1,000 students have mobilized and are now working to
gather signatures, according to Andrea Guerrero, a student at the
University of California (UC) Law School and one of the coordinators of
the multiracial effort.

Last fall, UC-Berkeley Professor Ron Takaki also called for a
people-driven initiative to counter the anti-affirmative action
referendums which have passed in California. After learning that
students were simultaneously crafting their own initiative, he met with
the student leaders and decided to put his own plans aside to assist
the student effort. He believes the student initiative will spark a
debate on issues of equality and the future of the state.

“There’s an impending crisis over Proposition 209. We have a hint
of the future to come. With affirmative action applying to freshmen
this coming year, we project that the UC System will be 93 percent
White and Asian,” Takaki said. “This will cause a racial earthquake in
California. People are going to be asking themselves why they should be
paying taxes to subsidize-the elite.”

Students for Educational Opportunity can be reached at: (510) 601-8405 or <EEOI@aol.com>.

COPYRIGHT 1998 Cox, Matthews & Associates



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