Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Lawyer Charges UC with Fraud over Admissions: `Truth in Advertising' Suit Strikes at Racial `Advantage'

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Lawyer Charges UC with Fraud over Admissions: `Truth in Advertising' Suit Strikes at Racial `Advantage'

Article excerpt

Lawyer Charges UC With Fraud Over Admissions: `Truth in Advertising' Suit. Strikes At Racial `Advantage'

A recently filed "truth in advertising" lawsuit accuses the regents of the University of California of consumer fraud because they fail to tell applicants to their law and medical schools that preferential treatment is given to some Black and Hispanic students.

Attorney Allan J. Favish, who is the sole plaintiff, alleges that the UC law and medical schools -- which include UC-Irvine, UC-San Diego, UCLA, UC-San Francisco, UC-Davis, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis and Hastings College of Law in San Francisco -- charge an application fee but fail to disclose the extent to which an applicant's chance for admission is affected by his or her race.

Says Favish, "Generally speaking, if you are a B or C student, you are wasting your money applying to UC law and medical schools if you are white or Asian...if you are Black or Hispanic, you have a realistic chance for admission. If you are an A student, being Black or Hispanic is a significant advantage."

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Alleging that applicants are required to pay a fee when submitting an application but are not adequately informed of the extent to which their race affects their chances for admission, the suit seeks restitution of application fees paid by any applicant rejected for admission to UC law and medical schools since approximately 1967, "whose chances for admission were decreased by virtue of their race, color, national origin and/or ethnicity."

The restitution aspect is secondary, says Favish. "I'm willing to negotiate." More important, he says, is eliminating the "fraud."

Pointing out that he has always been interested "in the racial preference issue," Favish says he was not motivated by the anti-affirmative action mood of the country. He says he simply believes racial preferences are morally and legally wrong, and, because of this, began compiling data on the UC in 1993 -- data which he used as the basis for a series of articles in the local media. This occurred long before the introduction of the California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), a move that would abolish race-based affirmative action and which is scheduled to be on the ballot in 1996. Favish's articles also appeared before the recent directive by presidential candidate and California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) to eliminate affirmative action in the state.

While Wilson's directive does not affect the state's three higher education systems, he has called on them to abide by it regarding student admissions. …

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