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UCLA Discusses Prop. 209



LOS ANGELES-Before classes even began, dozens of diligent students and administrators were molding UCLA into an even better university through better communication.

UCLA administrators gathered with student leaders in an informal conference Wednesday, discussing a variety of topics, but focusing mostly on the impact of Proposition 209 on the university campus.

The conference, sponsored by the department of student affairs, boasted presentations by USAC President Kandea Mosley and Graduate Student Association (GSA) President Andrew Westall, as well as a question-and-answer session with UCLA Chancellor and former Harvard provost Albert Carnesale.

For most of the student leaders, this was their first opportunity to meet with the new chancellor since he took the post in July.

But the pressing concern of the moment was Proposition 209 and what effects it would have on the campus.

"Proposition 209 became law on Aug. 28," said Joe Mandel, vice chancellor of legal affairs. "The Proposition will remain law unless the U.S. Supreme Court rules it to be unconstitutional."

The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will hear the appeal regarding Proposition 209.

Students expressed concern that the proposition-which bans preference in state hiring based on race, color, gender, ethnicity or national origin-would have an adverse effect on academic programs such as ethnic studies. They were pleased to learn that it would not.

"There is no way that 209 will be interpreted to have an effect on academic programs," Mandel said.

Other items of concern among student leaders present included ethnic graduation ceremonies, where students of one ethnicity come together to celebrate graduation apart from the standard ceremony.

"We can fund student-initiated graduation celebrations," said Winston Doby, vice chancellor of student affairs, "but we cannot give funds to any group that gives preference based on race, color, gender, ethnicity or national origin."

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