Prop 16: arguments for and against

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Proponents of Proposition 16 and affirmative action point to the racial and ethnic makeup of the University of California, noting that it does not reflect the demographics of the state’s overall student-age population. Opponents of Proposition 16 do not believe things such as race should be considered for college admissions. Photo by University of California, Santa Barbara.

Proposition 16 would amend the California Constitution to allow race, ethnicity, sex, color and national origin to be considered when making decisions about accepting students to public universities, awarding state government contracts, and hiring state government workers. By doing so, Proposition 16 would pave the way for California to reinstate affirmative action policies at places such as the University of California. In the mid-1990s, state voters approved a different ballot initiative that essentially outlawed affirmative action.