Public Higher Education: A Paper Trial on Affirmative Action at the University of California

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of
the Department of Public Administration, California State University, Hayward
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the

Master of Public Adminstration
Public Management Option

Marguerity I. Versher
March 19, 1993

Copyright © 4/21/97 by Marguerite I. Versher. Reprinting of this thesis in its complete, unmodified form for strictly non-profit purposes is both authorized and encouraged provided that this copyright and proper citation is included.

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Versher, M. I. Public Higher Education: A Paper Trail on Affirmative Action at the University of California. Unpublished Master's thesis, California State University, Hayward, Department of Public Administration (1993, March 19). [WWW document]. URL


The system of higher education has mirrored society in evidential ways. It has functioned as an institution to administer knowledge and certify professions. In order to show how higher education significantly impacts the quality of life in a democratic society, observation of obstacles to equality in constructs of content and elements of affirmative action policy are examined.

The University of California, specifically the Berkeley Campus, is used as a backdrop to focus on the presence of underrepresented minorities in California's higher education insitutions as both objects of and subjects to affirmative action. Will continuation of affirmative action encumber or equalize access to higher education for under represented minorities? As economic conditions continue to exacerbate efforts to bring equity to higher education, responses to an old problem are offered.

Administrators of affirmative action-type programs designed to support the University's efforts to increase minority representation confront particular problems peculiar to higher education and its relationship with California's ability or inability to academically prepare its students. Affirmative action has persisted as the means to bring equity to higher eduation. I will show that it has not served to improve representation among targeted groups, but has been inconsistently applied as policy and has compounded the racial crisis ingrained in higher education. The crisis is that education is necessary to human development and that issue is being lost in an antiquated policy.


I would like to thank Professors Hilary Fry and Carl Bellone of the Department of Public Administration, for their confidence in my intellectual ability to complete the MPA program. Without words of advice, I might not have engaged my own determination to obtain a graduate degree.

I am very grateful to Professor Richard VrMeer for his patience and ability to teach theory well enough to be understood by most of his students. It is one thing to possess the knowledge of difficult subject matter and quite another to be able to convey it to someone else. During my first course, PUAD 4800, I did not have a clue to the purpose and content of the course, but Professor VrMeer's methods for stimulating class discussion minimized my confusion and established my interst in Philosophical thought, an area that I had always considered questionable.

I also would like to thank the Reference staff of the Libraries at the University of California, Berkeley. Thank you to Professor Margaret B. Wilkerson, Ms. Margaret Henderson, and Ms. Greer Collins, all of whom gave me the opportunity to gain experience and are the best supervisors ever. Without the general assistance of all those who took an interest in my research, I would have been unable to complete my thesis. Thank you all.
4/21/97 Addendum: Thanks to CCSF Title III Group, Steve Levinson, Chris Francisco, Bob Gabriner, and Karla Frizler. Thanks to you all I'm on the WEB!
And Special thanks to Grace Massey.


To download this work in its entirety (213K), choose the THESIS option. Otherwise, choose from the individual chapters below.

Chapter One: Introduction (16K)
The Opening of the University of California.
Does higher education have a social responsibility?

Chapter Two: The Significance of Quality Education (29K)
Why is higher education so important in a democratic society?

Chapter Three: The Distribution of Education Through Affirmative Action (32K)
Can higher education be administered fairly in a racially diverse yet historically unequal society?

Chapter Four: Affirmative Action Administrators (23K)
Do minority administrators have a vested interest in affirmative action type programs?

Chapter Five: Conclusions and In Conclusions (12K)
Can past discrimination be remedied? And is affirmative action the only answer?


Please send comments to the researcher via e-mail: Thank you for your interest!

Copyright © 5/6/97 by Marguerite I. Versher. Reprinting of this thesis in its complete, unmodified form for strictly non-profit educational purposes is both authorized and encouraged provided that this copyright and proper citation is included. Return to: Marguerite I. Versher, CCSF