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The Men Behind the Madness
(About the California Civil Rights Initiative)

What they say doesn't equal what they mean

Students for Social Justice
Sacramento, California


The California Civil Rights Initiative will be on the November ballot. If it passes, this initiative will have a devastating impact on higher education, eliminating programs which allow people of color and women to get an education, and threatening programs like ethnic and gender studies, ethnic and gender focused recruitment and retention programs, and women centers. This November, Vote No on CCRI for your education, for your future.

The agenda of the men behind the California Civil Rights Initiative is clear: as the number of people of color, women, low-income people and immigrants grow in our state, they will do whatever then can to prevent any shift in power. Don't let them take away our right to an education.

Governor Pete Wilson - the politician

Governor Wilson has been the leading opportunist of the CCRI campaign. His disastrous attempt to run for U.S. President last Spring was closely linked strategically to the Republican campaign to eliminate affirmative action: he even brought television cameras for his presidential campaign commercials to the July 20th Regents meeting. Interestingly, in the '70s when Mr. Wilson was mayor of San Diego, he campaigned in support of affirmative action.

Regent Ward Connerly - the "model minority"

Regent Connerly initiated the campaign to eliminate affirmative action within the U.C. system last year. Conveniently one of two voting African American members of the 26 person U.C. Board of Regents, Connerly (a close friend of Wilson) has become the main spokeperson against affirmative action. For years Connerly has received government contracts through his minority business status which he claims under his wife for his Sacramento contracting business. Connerly once insisted that effective outreach programs were the answer to institutionalized racism, but has since begun attacks on ethnic- and gender-based outreach programs, financial aid and scholarships, and ethnic-based graduations.

Glynn Custred and Tom Wood - the "victims"

These gentlemen are the esteemed authors of the initiative. Both work with a conservative education organization, the California Association of Scholars, which is opposed to ethnic and gender studies, sexual harassment policies, campus "diversification," and affirmative action. Their move to eliminate "preferential treatment" stems from their own experiences with "reverse discrimination." Ironically, NBC's Dateline investigated their claims and found out that Mr. Wood, who was denied a teaching position at a major college in California in the late '80s, has never held a permanent faculty position and published his first studies 15 years after receiving his Ph.D. In fact, of the 90,000 discrimination cases filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 3,000 were filed by white men. And only 6 were found valid.

Tirso del Junco, Chair of the U.C. Regents - the money men

Many prominent education folks, like U.C. Regent Del Junco, have contributed $1 000s to the CCRI campaign. Other large funders include: Michael Huffington and Howard Ahmanson (heir to Home Savings of America). These are the same folks who have poured money into campaigns to attack immigrants (Proposition 187) and African American, Latina/o and Asian youth ("three strikes" prison sentencing legislation).

What Can We Do?

The only way we can stop the attacks of the "right-wing" to deny students of color, low income students, women, and immigrants access to education and opportunities is by building a powerful voting block of these communities across the state. Students are organizing now to defeat CCRI. Get involved in the fight to save affirmative action. And most importantly, register to vote and vote No on CCRI this November.

Published in In Motion Magazine August 22, 1996.

Also read:
  • California Civil Wrongs Initiative
    (including the text of the California Civil Rights Initiative)
    Students for Social Justice,
    Sacramento, California
    Published in In Motion Magazine August 20, 1996