FAQ on Affirmative Action, Diversity, and Quotas

In summary, the University has clearly stated its policy on equal employment opportunity, and has committed itself to the avoidance of discrimination in its personnel decisions. The avoidance of discrimination alone will not achieve the desired goal of ethnic diversity throughout the work force. To achieve such changes requires Affirmative Action. The Staff Affirmative Action Office is determined to maintain an institutional awareness of the problems that generally accompany and hinder progress in affirmative action and diversity. We will focus on the problem areas and assist management in developing programs and strategies that will move UCLA closer to the goal of attaining the Chancellor's objectives regarding diversity for staff employees.

Affirmative action is best understood in terms of the goal, equal employment opportunity for everyone. Equal employment opportunity is the condition where all personnel decisions such as hires, promotions, etc., are made without any consideration of race, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability or medical condition. Affirmative action, therefore, is the means by which we seek to reach the goal. It may take the form of outreach recruitment, training programs to enhance the skills of minorities and women, career counseling to assist in career development, or seminars for hiring supervisors to update them on the most current developments in the field of AA/EEO law. Affirmative action is proactive and can be all of these things and much more.

Diversity is a much broader concept that has two main components: (1) valuing differences between individuals, and (2) managing a diverse work force. One basic definition of diversity is the creation of a work environment that fosters the full participation of each individual. Affirmative action is therefore a strategy or a means by which to attain the level of diversity that the Chancellor has set as a goal. Diversity is also a broad, inclusive umbrella that seeks to look toward the future. The campus and community have undergone and continue to undergo dramatic demographic shifts. The state of California is a magnet for people from a multitude of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. The University has a vital role in not only incorporating this pluralism into the work force, but also in the preparation of our students to deal with the world of 2000 and beyond.

The Chancellor has overall responsibility for the implementation of affirmative action at UCLA. The Chancellor through Executive Vice Chancellor has delegated the responsibilities for academic affirmative action to the Associate Vice Chancellor–Academic Development for undergraduate student affirmative action to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs; and for graduate student affirmative action to the Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs. The Vice Chancellor, Busines and Administrative Services, has overall responsibility for the implementation of the UCLA Affirmative Action Plan for staff employees. The operational responsibilities have been delegated to the Staff Affirmative Action Officer, who is responsible for developing and monitoring our campus Affirmative Action Plan for staff employees. The functions of the Staff Affirmative Action Office (SAAO) include the evaluation of the effectiveness of procedures implemented to promote affirmative action; investigation of incidents or conditions which may not conform to the goals of the campus Affirmative Action Plan; provision of assistance and consultation to campus units and departments; and mediation of informal complaints of discrimination. In addition, the SAAO, has responsibility in the development of the campus Affirmative Action Plan for the disabled, disabled veterans, Vietnam-era veterans, and the facilitation of business affirmative action of UCLA. Campus Human Resources has a responsibility for affirmative action programming such as outreach recruitment, staff development, and career counseling.

Simply put, affirmative action, in relation to equal employment opportunity, seeks to redress historical discrimination and exclusion. Affirmative action in terms of diversity seeks to enable the campus to attain a diverse work force. In both instances, affirmative action is a means or a strategy, not an end unto itself.

This is one of the misconceptions that needs to be dispelled. In UC Personnel Policy and in the collective bargaining agreements, it is clearly stated that the most qualified candidate should be hired. There is no question about that. However, many times, simply because a person was minority, or female, or disabled they were automatically assumed to be unqualified. The Affirmative Action task is to keep hiring supervisors focused upon the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to successfully fulfill the job duties, rather than on the race, sex, or disability, of an applicant. We are not seeking to hire unqualified people, rather we need to clarify the job-related criteria for determining a "qualified" individual.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and University policy, it would be a violation to exclude someone from an opportunity because their race or sex. Discrimination is wrong, wherever and however it is practiced, and again the goal is equal employment opportunity for everyone regardless of race, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, marital status or medical condition.

Executive Order 11246 requires all federal contractors to take affirmative action, and those federal contractors that employ 50 or more people and receive $50,000 or more in federal funds, must have a written Affirmative Action Plan. Goals and timetables are a part of the requirements of an Affirmative Action Plan as specified in Revised Order 4 issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. Goals are voluntary measures of progress in hiring minorities and women that an employer such as the University has established for itself. The Department of Labor in a compliance audit would examine our goals and review our good faith efforts toward attaining these goals.

No. Quotas are established by court or agency action when there has been a finding of discrimination. Quotas are mandatory and externally imposed. Remember, UCLA has voluntarily established goals. Sometimes, goals and quotas are misrepresented as being synonymous; however, the difference is clear. As stated earlier, the University has never had court ordered or agency ordered quotas imposed.