Silence at Boalt Hall

Silence at Boalt Hall: The Dismantling of Affirmative Action

Andrea Guerrero
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Pages: 262
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppnsr
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  • Book Info
    Silence at Boalt Hall
    Book Description:

    In 1995, in a marked reversal of progress in the march toward racial equity, the Board of Regents voted to end affirmative action at the University of California. One year later the electorate voted to do the same across the state of California.Silence at Boalt Hallis the thirty-year story of students, faculty, and administrators struggling with the politics of race in higher education at U.C. Berkeley's prestigious law school-one of the first institutions to implement affirmative action policies and one of the first to be forced to remove them. Andrea Guerrero is a member of the last class of students admitted to Boalt Hall under the affirmative action policies. Her informed and passionate journalistic account provides an insider's view into one of the most pivotal and controversial issues of our time: racial diversity in higher education. Guerrero relates the stories of those who benefited from affirmative action and those who suffered from its removal. She shows how the "race-blind" admission policies at Boalt have been far from race-neutral and how the voices of underrepresented minority students have largely disappeared. A hushed silence-the silence of students, faculty, and administrators unwilling and unable to discuss the difficult issues of race-now hangs over Boalt and many institutions like it, Guerrero claims. As the legal and sociopolitical battles over affirmative action continue on a number of consequential fronts, this book provides a rich and engrossing perspective on many facets of this crucial question.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93634-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. CHAPTER 1 Balancing the Scales
    (pp. 1-33)

    On April 4, 1968, amid news of war abroad and revolt at home, came the devastating report that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was dead. The thirtynine- year-old civil rights leader had been killed by a sniper outside his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. Sadness mingled with frustration and demoralization as the nation mourned the loss of yet another figure—after President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers—in America’s crusade for racial justice and equality. The victories for which King and others had fought so hard—school desegregation, antidiscrimination legislation, and minority hiring programs—had been slow...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Pursuing Excellence
    (pp. 34-66)

    In 1978, following the revision of the affirmative action policy at Boalt, attention at the law school shifted from student diversity to faculty diversity. With that shift came new arguments opposing affirmative action that centered on “academic excellence” and used the language of “merit.” Opponents of affirmative action refashioned themselves as “neoconservatives” who were concerned with themeansfor best achieving equality. They asserted that color-blind measures, which measured merit, were the best means to achieve equality and ensure academic excellence at our premier universities. They contended that such measures were also consistent with the goals of the civil rights...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Dismantling Diversity
    (pp. 67-109)

    In 1993, two San Francisco Bay Area academics—Glynn Custred and Thomas Wood—introduced a ballot initiative that in one vote promised to eliminate affirmative action throughout the state of California. Custred and Wood viewed affirmative action as both unfair and contrary to their own interests. Custred was a white anthropology professor at California State University at Hayward who was upset by, among other things, the hiring and firing practices employed by his university to create and maintain racial diversity on the faculty. Consideration of race had been a factor in a number of hiring decisions and had also threatened...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Reaching for Answers
    (pp. 110-161)

    The arrival of the entering class at Boalt Hall in August 1997 promised to attract national media attention. For the first time in thirty years, the law school had admitted students without reference to their race, resulting in the admission of only 55 underrepresented minority students, down from 162 the previous year. Of these 55 students, only 7—all Latinos—had chosen to enroll. Not since 1968, the first year of affirmative action, had only 7 newly admitted underrepresented minority students matriculated to Boalt.¹ The media ensured that the significance of this parallel would be noticed. Boalt was not the...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Listening to the Silence
    (pp. 162-202)

    The month is August 1999—the beginning of the school year at Boalt Hall. Rafael Mandelman, a white student who entered Boalt in 1996 as part of the last class to be admitted under affirmative action, and who spent the last two years at Harvard completing a joint degree in public policy, sits in his constitutional law class.¹ Looking around the room, he thinks about how the law school has changed. Boalt is different than it was when he was a first-year student. The most obvious difference is the makeup of the student body. When Mandelman started law school, underrepresented...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 203-232)
  12. Index
    (pp. 233-247)