We, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA), representing our great community of more than half a million UC Berkeley graduates, are deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to bar colleges and universities from taking race into consideration in admissions. This decision presents a grave challenge to equitable access to higher education in the United States.
Diversity is a key part of our university’s brilliance. “Study after study shows that diverse teams and communities excel at innovation, discovery and creativity, values we embrace at Berkeley,” said Chancellor Christ in a response to the ruling. Through the recruitment and admission of a bright student body that reflects our state’s population, the university can fulfill its commitment to providing a world-class public education for all future generations.
“We will continue to be fiercely persistent in our efforts to uplift those who have been historically marginalized, regardless of the obstacles that step in our way,” said Susie Cohen Crumpler, executive director of the Cal Alumni Association.
With California’s Proposition 209 restrictions, the Cal Alumni Association, as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, is uniquely positioned to further our campus’s efforts to increase diversity. “For decades, the Cal Alumni Association has provided scholarships and support programs for Cal students, working to ensure that all students have the opportunity to attend college and pursue their dreams in an inclusive and equitable environment,” said Cohen Crumpler.
Kirk Tramble ’93, president of the Cal Alumni Association, spoke to an unwavering purpose. “Although disappointed by today’s ruling, CAA is resolved to continue to support alumni, student and community efforts for increasing diversity in higher education,” Tramble said.
In the 27 years since the passage of Prop. 209, our university has pursued strategies for a diverse student body under compliance with the law. Immediately following the proposition’s passage, populations of Black, Latinx, Native, and Indigenous students plummeted at Cal and other public California institutions. In 1999 the CAA board of directors, responding to a directive from then-Chancellor Robert Berdahl, established The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) to support the recruitment and retention of first-generation and low-income students at Berkeley in intersecting support for our underserved populations.
Today, CAA’s Alumni Scholars Program continues to support the advancement of diversity and equity in admissions, recruitment, and retention at UC Berkeley through financial and holistic student support. Beyond monetary awards, the program’s offerings include one-on-one advising; workshops that foster personal, academic, and professional growth; and alumni networks. Financial resources for emergency and basic needs help alleviate risk for marginalized students, who most often carry additional responsibilities that present obstacles to completing their education.
We have further to go. UC Berkeley is working toward designation as a Latinx Thriving Institution, and has been designated as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, parts of its goal to become an anti-racist institution. UC Berkeley’s African American Initiative (AAI), begun in 2015, was designed to create welcoming and sustaining environments for Black students at Cal. Alumni volunteers serve on the selection committee for the AAI Scholarship, launched in 2018, which is administered by the Cal Alumni Association in partnership with the San Francisco Foundation.
The call for equity does not stop at admissions—our immutable charge is to create meaningful experiences for every one of our Golden Bears. To achieve our goals, Cal students present and future will need support and solidarity from us all.
Fiat Lux and Go Bears,
Susie Cohen Crumpler
Cal Alumni Association
Kirk Tramble ’93
Cal Alumni Association
How Alumni Can Take Action
Give to the Alumni Scholars Program — Alumni Scholarships provide vital support for undergraduates at Cal and can make a huge difference for students who need it most.
Attend a Local Summer Welcome Party — Cal can be intimidating. Meet newly admitted students and their families at alumni-hosted community events and help them feel personally welcomed at Berkeley.
Become a Scholarship Volunteer — Alumni volunteers support the Alumni Scholars Program selections process by reviewing applications, conducting interviews, and encouraging admitted students to attend Cal.
Join an Alumni Chapter — Regional, cultural, and identity-based chapters around the United States connect alumni in community. Each volunteer-led chapter holds social, learning, and service events throughout the year.
Be a Student’s Mentor — The Cal Alumni Mentors program matches first-generation, underrepresented, and underserved students with alumni from similar backgrounds who help coach students to success at and after Cal. Volunteer to be matched with a student in our 2023–24 recruitment cycle.