National Association of Scholars
phone: 609-683-7878 • fax: 609-683-0316
PRINCETON, NJ—Today the National Association of Scholars wrote to the Western Association of Schools (WASC) and Colleges to advise the Association regarding Santa Rosa Junior College’s use of racial preferences in hiring.
The 2006-2007 Sonoma County Superior Court Grand Jury Report states that the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) hiring process may be in violation of Article 1 section 31 of the California state constitution (formerly known as Proposition 209), which prohibits affirmative action programs based on racial discrimination. The Grand Jury Report made recommendations to the College for clarifying statements such as “the District is committed to increasing the diversity of its staff to reflect the great diversity of its student population.” SRJC responded to the Grand Jury Report with a denial of the allegations against it.
Currently SRJC is undergoing accreditation review by WASC. In its Institutional Self-Study, the College continues to use language stating SRJC’s intention to recruit ethnically diverse faculty and administrators.
Serious misrepresentations inevitably undermine SRJC’s credibility. If the College is aggressively engaged in illegal racial and ethnic discrimination while publicly denying that it is doing so, how can it be trusted to give an accurate account of its academic quality?
The NAS believes that, to reflect high WASC’s standards for institutional integrity and lawful conduct, Santa Rosa Junior College’s accreditation must be contingent on finding that its hiring process is conducted fairly and is based on candidates’ professional ability, not their race or ethnicity.
Commenting on SRJC’s accreditation review, NAS president Steve Balch observed, “This is an unusual situation. An institution’s fidelity to the laws of its state as well as the basic canons of fairness have been called into question by a Grand Jury. Will its regional accreditor take cognizance of this fact? The integrity of WASC and the entire accreditation community is as much on the line as that of Santa Rosa Junior College.”
The National Association of Scholars is America’s foremost higher education reform group. Located in Princeton, NJ, it has forty-six state affiliates and more than four thousand professors, graduate students, administrators, and trustees as members.
Correction: In our letter to WASC, we wrote that Santa Rosa Junior College's Institutional Self-Study had been submitted to WASC on August 22, 2008. In fact, the self study is a draft and is still under review before its submission to WASC. Nonetheless, the draft's language still demonstrates, in the ways our letter noted, that SRJC is contradicting the assurance of compliance with Proposition 209 made to the Grand Jury.
Click on the link below to read NAS's letter to WASC's Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.