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California ban on using race in UC admissions still OK, federal court says

Chris Radcliff via Flickr Creative Commons

California's voter-approved ban on using race, ethnicity and gender in public college and university admissions is not unconstitutional, a federal appeals court said today.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Proposition 209, which was passed by voters in 1996, does not violate students' constitutional rights, the AP reports.

Since the 1996 voter initiative passed, Proposition 209 has faced multiple legal challenges.

Proponents of affirmative action say campus diversity at the state's public schools has suffered since taking race out of admissions consideration.

Here's a very brief sampling of enrollment numbers from two well-known California public schools that are often criticized for lacking diversity as a result of Prop. 209.

At UC Berkeley enrollment data from Fall 2011 shows roughly 27 percent of the campus population classified itself as White; 21 percent as Chinese; 7 percent Mexican American/Chicano; 3 percent African American/Black.

At UCLA enrollment data from Fall 2011 shows roughly 32 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander; 34 percent White, Non-Hispanic; 14 percent Hispanic; and 0.04 percent Black Non Hispanic.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).