California Votes to Keep Ban on Race and Sex Discrimination

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY, November 4th, 2020: Proposition 16, which would repeal a constitutional provision that made it unlawful for California's state and local governments to discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or sex, has failed. The vote follows numerous attempts by special interest groups to re-institute race and sex discrimination in California and overturn Proposition 209, which banned such prejudice.

Proposition 16 was added as a ballot initiative to the 2020 election after the Democratic-controlled California legislature rushed a bill through both chambers during the first months of a global pandemic. Had it passed, Prop. 16 would have allowed for colleges and universities to discriminate based on race and sex. 

“The people of California have once again shown that they are nowhere near as biased and fanatical as their local leaders,” said National Association of Scholars (NAS) president Peter Wood. “Almost twenty-five years ago the people of California said ‘no’ to discrimination and they’ve said it again today.”

In 1996, Ward Connerly and the California Association of Scholars fought to get Prop. 209 on the ballot. That initiative was supported by a majority of Californians, who made Prop. 209’s anti-discrimination language a part of their California Consititution. 

In the lead-up to election day, Quinn M. Delaney, the Kaiser Foundation, the California Teachers Association, California Community Colleges, the University of California, and Gov. Gavin Newsome formed a pro-discrimination alliance that accumlated a warchest of nearly $31 million. Meanwhile, Proposition 16’s opponents raised nearly $1.6 million to fund their efforts to keep the anti-discimination Prop. 209 in place.

Dr. Wood continued: “NAS’s own Ward Connerly and Gail Heriot are but two faces in a large sea that fought to ensure Californians of all races and both sexes have equal standing before admissions offices and state contract offices. Their efforts are celebrated by NAS and continue our organization’s legacy of ensuring equal access to education.”


For more information on this topic, please contact Chance Layton at [email protected] or at 917-551-6770.

Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

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