“We have so much commitment and community,” said Damilola, 18, describing how the previously scarce club membership had increased. Its meetings now include lively discussions of current affairs through an African-American lens.
In her freshman year, she encountered students who seemed ignorant of black people and made inappropriate comments. “My freshman year, I got comments that ‘you’re only in school because of affirmative action,'” Damilola said, even though she passed the same rigorous test as everyone else. .
While she reserves judgment on the new admissions system, she said parts of it — including the geographic diversity requirement — were improvements. “It just makes things fairer overall for everyone,” said Damilola, who is of Nigerian descent.
The Pacific Legal Foundation was founded in 1973, during Ronald Reagan’s tenure as Governor of California, by his supporters who envisioned a conservative version of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Since then, the Sacramento-based organization has grown significantly. Its most recent annual budget was $17 million. Critics cite the group’s well-heeled donors and partners, including the Kochs, the Atlas Network and the Uihlein family, who operate the large commercial product supply company Uline, as evidence that it is heavily influenced by commercial interests. The foundation says its support comes from 6,400 donors.
The foundation has a successful track record: 14 victories in cases before the Supreme Court. He is also known as a prolific filer of “friends of the court” memoirs, including in support of Students for Fair Admissions, the Virginia-based group waging a legal battle against affirmative action at Harvard and North Carolina.
Mr. Driver, the Yale professor, noted that these cases have pitted various ethnic groups against each other in divisive ways. At Thomas Jefferson, the class selection controversy goes back decades, according to 1998 graduate Jorge Torrico.