Chancellor Block visits White House to talk about diversity on college campuses


UCLA Chancellor Gene Block was invited to the White House last week to address the importance of inclusion and opportunity in higher education following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decisions barring race conscious admissions.

The chancellor participated in a livestreamed panel discussion co-hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and White House domestic policy advisor Neera Tanden that also included leaders from Princeton University, the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Trinity Washington University, Morgan State University and Northern Virginia Community College.

The Sept. 28 event coincided with the release of an new U.S. Department of Education report, “Strategies for Increasing Diversity and Opportunity in Higher Education,” which calls for states and the higher education sector to prioritize outreach, admissions, financial aid and other factors that promote opportunity and inclusion on college campuses.

The context for Block’s panel remarks was UCLA’s response to the drastic drop in students of color on campus following California voters’ 1996 adoption of Proposition 209, which barred consideration of race and ethnicity in hiring and admissions decisions at California’s public institutions.

He noted that UCLA had been able to “maintain a commitment to opportunity and diversity while complying with Proposition 209” through innovative outreach, holistic admissions policies, investments in financial aid and the creation of a supportive environment to meet student needs. After decades of hard work, those efforts paid off, and UCLA has finally returned to pre–Proposition 209 enrollment levels for traditionally underserved populations.

Insisting that we “have to meet the students where they are,” Block explained that UCLA achieved this success through partnerships with California community colleges, school districts, religious organizations and other institutions, as well as by increasing UCLA’s geographic reach to underserved parts of the state, such as the Central Valley and the areas north of San Francisco.

Read more on UCLA Newsroom here.