Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes affirmative action, SB 185

"I have an insider's knowledge, but an outsider's mind," former California governor Jerry Brown says.
"I have an insider's knowledge, but an outsider's mind," former California governor Jerry Brown says. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have allowed public state universities to use race as a relevant admissions factor.

The bill, SB 185, was penned by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Los Angeles) and would have allowed public universities in California to consider race, ethnicity, gender and other distinguishing factors in their undergraduate admissions. In 1996 voters barred such preferential treatment when they approved Proposition 209.

"I wholeheartedly agree with the goal of this legislation," Brown wrote in his veto message. However, he added, a decision like SB 185 should be left up to the courts, not the legislature. Brown said that Proposition 209 should be interpreted to allow California's public universities to consider race and other factors in their admissions process, and that SB 185 was unlikely to impact Prop. 209's interpretation in court.

SB 185 bill caused a stir earlier this year after it was the subject of a satirical bake sale-gone awry at the University of California, Berkeley. There, students opposing the bill based prices for baked goods on the buyer's race, gender and ethnicity.

The weekend was busy for Brown who on Saturday signed the California Dream Act into law.

Read more coverage at KPCC's Multi-American Blog.

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