Civil rights group presents challenge to Prop 209

February 16, 2010 5:42:12 PM PST
There is a new legal challenge to Proposition 209, the initiative prohibiting the UC system from considering race, sex, or ethnicity in student admissions.

On Tuesday, members of a group called "Equality by Any Means Necessary" filed a lawsuit against the initiative passed by voters in 1996. The group claims Prop 209 violates equal protections guaranteed by the U.S. constitution and has led to what it calls "permanent de facto segregation" in the UC system.

"What's happening in California cannot stand any longer. The level of segregation relative to the state population is worse in California than any other state expect for five states in the deep south and that's not acceptable," said civil rights advocate Ronald Cruz.

A UC spokesman responded to the suit by saying, "Our academic preparation programs are helping under-represented minority students fulfill our admission requirements and we're doing everything possible to ensure the widest possible access to UC."

The spokesman also said that as long as Prop 209 is the law, they are obligated to comply with it. The Supreme Court upheld the initiative in 1997.