by Winston Chua
A large contingent of about 100 Asian American protestors gathered at the Hilton San Gabriel Hotel Friday morning, voicing their opposition to Senate Constitution Amendment Number 5, an amendment which they say will allow the University of California and Cal State Universities to base admission policies on gender and race.
“Admission should be based on merit and not politics,” said Joint Chinese University Alumni Association of Southern California President Olivia Liao. “We feel the amendment was written in a tricky way under the assumption that Chinese are not paying attention to politics. Chinese Americans are concerned citizens.”
Leaders of the JCUAA led the protest against SCA-5, which threatens to reverse Proposition 209, enacted by California voters in 1996. Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, prohibited state government institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity in the areas of public employment, contracting or public education.
San Marino Councilman Eugene Sun, city school board member Joseph Chang and city planning commissioner Se-Yao Hsu showed up to oppose the amendment in its current form.
Sun told The Tribune that a change in policy would adversely affect Asian Americans, who he said now represent some 36% of the student-body at UCs and Cal State schools. That number could drop to 13% if the amendment is allowed.
Chinese American Political Action Committee Chairman Tony Ding said, “This will make it unfair for everybody and goes directly against the 14th amendment of the Constitution.”
A spokeswoman from Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office read a statement that said “We should not pit minority group against minority group. Instead, I believe that the State Legislators should work on expanding the number of students admitted to our universities so that there are greater educational opportunities for young people of all background.”
Each time someone spoke to the audience against SCA-5, the room at the Hilton was filled with applause and cheer. No one spoke in favor.
“We want our future generations to receive a higher education from the best universities in the country,” Liao added. “We need to act now. If there’s no action, future generations will suffer greatly.”
Dignitaries from all over the San Gabriel Valley made their presence felt from far and wide. Representatives came from the following cities: Monterey Park, Claremont, Los Angeles Community College, Arcadia, San Gabriel, Walnut and San Marino.
A vote is expected by State Assembly legislators in April that will either echo the sentiments of the State Senate or face what appears to be a movement of growing opposition. The Senate recently passed SCA-5 in a manner that opens the door to a change admission policies.
Former Monterey Park Mayor Betty Tom Chu argued that the adoption of Proposition 209 has helped increase racial diversity and opportunities for all minorities and that SCA-5 is more relevant for high schools and not colleges. At the college level, Chu told the crowd that SCA-5 will “reinforce inequality and increase racial division.”
She urged the audience to threaten withholding financial support for elected officials do not advance protection from discrimination.
Also making cogent points before the audience against SCA-5 was Clara Wu, a student guidance counselor of Mark Keppel High of 25 years.
As of Monday, the petition demanding that the State Assembly votes no on SCA-5 totaled nearly 110,000 supporters.
(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)