Report 2019-113 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2019-113: The University of California: Qualified Students Face an Inconsistent and Unfair Admissions System That Has Been Improperly Influenced by Relationships and Monetary Donations (Release Date: September 2020)

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Recommendations to University of California
Number Recommendation Status
1

To protect the fairness and integrity of its admissions processes, the Office of the President should establish systemwide protocols for admissions processes by the fall 2021 admissions cycle that prohibit the following:
- Giving authority to any one person to make a final admissions decision.
- Consideration of an applicant's familial or other personal relationships to university staff or faculty in an admissions decision.
- Communication between a campus's development office and its admissions office about applicants and prospective applicants.

2

To protect the campuses' athletics admissions process from abuse, the Office of the President should require each campus to do the following by the fall 2021 admissions cycle:
- Have at least two reviewers verify the athletic talent of all prospective student athletes before their admittance. At least one of these reviewers should be from a department other than the athletics department. Each campus should develop standards for the level of talent that prospective student athletes for each of its teams must possess and then use those standards to verify the talent.
- Track student athletes' participation in the sport for which they were recruited. If a student does not participate in the sport for longer than one year, the campus should determine the reason why the athlete stopped participating and, if necessary, conduct a review of the circumstances that led to the student's admission to identify signs of inappropriate admissions activity.
- Review donations to athletic programs to determine whether those donations made before or after an athlete's admission may have influenced the athletic department's decision to request the athlete's admission.

3

The Office of the President should immediately require staff involved in making or informing admissions decisions to report all attempts to influence admissions decisions, regardless of source, to their supervisors or to the director of undergraduate admissions.

4

Beginning with the fall 2021 admissions cycle, the Office of the President should oversee UC Berkeley's admissions process for at least three years. The Office of the President should ensure that all admissions decisions are merit-based and conform to the university's policies on admissions. Further, the Office of the President should facilitate the establishment of a culture of ethical conduct in admissions by providing regular training to admissions and development staff, conducting reviews of admissions decisions, and monitoring the admissions office's communications about applicants to ensure no inappropriate factors influence admissions activities.

5

To ensure that the university maintains a fair and consistent admissions process, the Office of the President should require each campus to take the following actions:
- By March 2021, document and implement a selection methodology that describes how it will choose applicants for admission, particularly when the applicants have received similar ratings from application readers. Further, the selection strategy should specify the reasons why a campus may choose an applicant with a low or uncompetitive rating instead of an applicant with a higher rating.
- Develop and implement processes to use when selecting applicants for admission for identifying applicants whom it has selected for admission and who are not eligible for admission to the university, and record their rationale for admitting those applicants despite their ineligibility.

6

To provide assurance that campuses' use of the admission by exception policy is aligned with the policy's purpose, beginning in June 2021, the Office of the President should annually select a random sample of applicants admitted by exception and verify that campuses recorded a rationale for each admission and that each rationale aligns with BOARS's guidance.

7

To ensure that the university maintains a fair and unbiased admissions process, the Office of the President should require each campus to take the following actions:
- By March 2021, establish acceptable levels of application reader proficiency and maintain training and monitoring programs that ensure that its readers attain and sustain those levels. In addition, it should report annually to BOARS on those efforts and on reader consistency levels, including the frequency with which reader ratings align with campus guidelines for
rating applications.
- Beginning with the academic year 2021-22 admissions cycle, require each campus that does not admit all eligible transfer applicants to ensure that two readers review all transfer
applications.
- Beginning with the academic year 2021-22 admissions cycle, ensure that the second readers cannot see the ratings of first readers for both freshman and transfer applications.

8

To better ensure that implicit bias in the evaluation of applications does not affect applicants' chances at admission, the Office of the President should remove potentially biasing information from the application information that campuses can access.

9

To ensure that it properly protects all admissions activity against improper influence, the Office of the President should require each campus's undergraduate admissions office to do the following:
- Identify all other campus departments that participate in or provide information that affects admissions decision making.
- Obtain, evaluate, and approve a description of the criteria and processes that these departments use in rating and selecting applicants to recommend for admission.
- Annually obtain a roster from each of these departments of the individuals who will participate in admissions decision making and their roles and ensure that no single individual is responsible for such decisions in any given department.
- Ensure that each individual whom a department includes on the roster it submits has received training on appropriate and inappropriate factors on which to base admissions decisions and has agreed to abide by the campus's conflict-of-interest policies with respect to admissions.

10

To better safeguard the integrity of the university's admissions processes, the Office of the President should, by July 2021, begin conducting regular audits of the admissions processes at each of its undergraduate campuses, ensuring that it reviews each campus at least once every three years. These audits should be conducted by systemwide audit staff and include, but not be limited to, verification of special talents, communication between admissions staff and external parties regarding applicants, and other avenues for inappropriate influence on admissions discussed in this report. The audits should also endeavor to identify inappropriate admissions activity and deficiencies in the admissions process. The Office of the President should make the results of the audits public.

11

To ensure that campuses adequately address deficiencies identified in its own internal audit, the Office of the President should immediately begin to assess whether the campuses have completed the corrective actions they developed in response to systemwide recommendations and should evaluate whether the campuses' actions adequately address the audit's concerns.

12

To increase the number of high school students who have the opportunity to gain admission to the university through its ELC program, the Office of the President should, beginning in
April 2021, do the following:
- Annually determine which high schools are eligible to participate in ELC but do not. It should annually report to BOARS the number of these high schools and their demographic
characteristics.
- Annually contact eligible high schools that are not participating in ELC to determine their reasons for choosing not to do so. It should assess whether the university can address barriers to participation and, to the extent that it can increase participation, it should take the steps to do so.



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