Adios, Carnesale

carnesale31401.jpg The first time I took a tour of UCLA I noticed scrawling in white and pastel-colored chalk around Bruin Walk and Royce Quad. I asked the tour guide about the “chalking” and she mentioned something about a protest and affirmative action. Of course this was all relevant to me. The entering class of 1998 was the first to be admitted under the race-neutral admissions policies and the big decreases at UCLA and UC Berkeley had many students of color up in arms. All this was constantly drummed into my 17-year old head. I didn’t learn until later that one of the protests was held at Chancellor Carnesale’s inauguration at the newly renovated Royce Hall.

I never really liked Carnesale. My dislike wasn’t like antipathy towards former Regent Ward Connerly. It was just a general distrust of the admnistrators in Murphy Hall. It might have been the fact that he consistently said that his hands were tied in relation to diversity and admitting more students of color. Perhaps it was his willingness to call in LAPD officers to arrest over 80 students who had taken over Royce Hall. During his tenure the number of underrepresented students of color decreased. He never seemed like he didn’t care, he just didn’t want to go against the will of the Regents and said he valued diversity but his hands were tied. Despite that, I know his Blue & Gold Scholarship made it possible for many of my closest friends from low-income families to attend UCLA free.

Carnesale’s strength was as a fundraiser. Last year UCLA was the only public university in a list of top 10 fundraisers the top 10 best fundraisers.

He talked a lot about UCLA in LA and the responsibility of the university in fulfilling its mission of education, research and public service to meet the needs of its community. The UCLA in LA Initiative was great, but it always seemed ironic because I didnít see LA truly reflected in the makeup of students and faculty.

I’m far from sad to see him go, but I do know that many of the changes at UCLA since 1997 have been for the better. I hope that the new chancellor President Dynes and his search committee appoint to replace Carnesale when he officially leaves at the end of June 2006 will continue to ensure that UCLA fulfills its mission.

10 Replies to “Adios, Carnesale”

  1. That’s a fair assessment. Carnesale and I spent almost the same amount of time at UCLA. You’re wise to point out all the good things he has done in terms of fundraising. This is especially true in terms of funding the UCLA endowment which is becoming increasingly important as the UC system becomes less and less “public.”

    The race issue is a multifaceted one, and I agree that diversity could be better on our campus–especially within academics (as compared to athletics). I would love to see more *academic* scholarships going to underrepresented minorities.

  2. LeavingCA, are you telling me that a school in Beverly Hills will produce the same academically prepared students that will a school in SC, ELA, or Crenshaw? The schools and communities are not as well off as they are in more affluent areas. Are you telling me that kids who did not have the same opportunity, yet show academic potential to succeed at UCLA (or any school for that matter), to not be given a scholarship because their school did not have the means to prepare them as well as others? Not to mention the heavy Western European influence on schoolís curriculum, as opposed to a multicultural approach, that also affect minority achievement (but thatís a whole other can of worms).

  3. These comments make me smile.

    Most scholarships awarded by UCLA take into account a lot of things. I read applications for the Latino Alumni Assn (not just for Latino students, by the way) and we scored students on many aspects such as their grades, test scores, financial need, and service to the community.

  4. Hello Gerardo,

    Personally I think making race or multiculturalism a determining factor in scholarship awards is simply racism. Applications for admission should ignore race/location and there should even be a blind review that doesn’t see the person’s name. Academic merit should be the main factor, with extracurricular a secondary. Social class should not be a factor at all.

    Then again, I believe in equity. Some don’t.

  5. LeavingCA,
    In case you don’t know the applicants’ names are not known when the readers look at them. Also, the UC’s are not just looking for students who can ace the SAT, SAT II, get high GPAs, and take many Advanced Placement courses/tests. A max GPA will differ across school as well as how many AP courses can be taken. And you can see students who are poorer attending schools offering less AP tests. In case you don’t know how UC admissions work, academic measures are still the main factor in admissions. Students must still meet minimum eligibility set by a system-wide comittee focused on academics.

  6. Gerardo,

    So you would propose the failure that was busing again? We all see how well that worked. Bus the races together and in two decades they’ve seperated again on their own.

  7. Who said anything about busing? I just don’t agree with your view that things are equitable enough among the school systems that would warrant a blind eye towards factors outside of the child’s hand. I’m not saying to disregard their academic merit, since it’s still a very important factor in deciding rewards, but other factors should also be taken into consideration.

    As CindyM pointed out, not all schools offer the same number of AP classes, as well as opportunities to take SAT prep classes, or money to provide adequate school materials.

    Seriously, you think things are equitable? I challenge you look up some stuff by Paulo Freire and still come out thinking that way.

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