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Letters to the Editor: 64 wrongful UC admissions out of many thousands are not a scandal

UCLA
A lone jogger runs past Royce Hall on a nearly empty UCLA campus on Aug. 13, 20202.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: A reader might think from your headline that “inappropriate” admissions were commonplace in the University of California system. But statistics tell a vastly different story.

Sixty-four wrongful admissions found over a six-year period in four schools that received 2.4 million applications is not strong evidence of wrongdoing.

The fact that 22 of the 64 students were recruited under the guise of “athletic capacity” says more about our skewed value of entertainment over academia than evidence of rich kids buying their way into prestigious schools.

Loretta Redd, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: I find it both sad and hypocritical that UC campuses can allow in unqualified students through their admissions process, shunting deserving students aside.

But watch out if a Black or Latinx student is admitted, perhaps displacing a more academically qualified student. When that happens all hell breaks loose — lawsuits are filed and the media are in an uproar.

If inequality persists in higher education, better it should be in favor of populations of color that have for centuries suffered the brunt of injustice.

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Barbara Siry, Laguna Woods

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To the editor: I was sickened to read about the latest UC debacle. Berkeley, both the city and its university, has been central to my life.

I was born in Berkeley when my father was a graduate student. I received my undergraduate and doctorate degrees from UC Berkeley, and my wife of 50 years was also a graduate student there.

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Clearly, UC has lost its way. The need for money is no excuse for lack of ethics. Questionably obtained funds do not preserve the legacy of UC Berkeley; rather, they destroy it.

The perpetrators of this scandal and those in the chains of command above them should be fired. Dereliction of duty by a UC regent is even worse, and the one who was cited in the audit (later identified as Richard Blum) should be forced to resign.

The California Constitution should be amended to ensure that such dereliction of duty by a regent is never repeated.

Stefan Kirchanski, Santa Monica


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