Four University of California campuses — including four admission cases at UC Santa Barbara — allowed “fraud and inappropriate” factors in its admissions decisions between the academic years 2013-14 and 2018-19, according to a California State audit released on Sept. 22.
According to the audit, California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle examined the general admissions and student-athletes processes of four UC campuses: initially just UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles and UC San Diego, but later expanding to the athletes at UC Santa Barbara.
Between 2013 and 2019, 64 applicants were admitted to the four campuses “based on their personal or family connections to donors and university staff,” according to the audit.
UC Berkeley admitted 42 of those students based on connections with donors and university staff, according to the audit. The remaining 22 applicants were admitted to other universities — including four at UCSB — due to “weak athletics admissions processes,” according to the audit
In a statement to the Nexus, university spokesperson Andrea Estrada said that UCSB will be implementing new policies to prevent similar occurrences in the future, such as “a review of every prospective athlete’s academic and athletic history by a faculty committee, verification by a compliance officer of any documentation, and a review of participation after one year.”
In one instance, the audit found that UCSB coaches altered an applicant’s admission by collaborating with other teams’ coaches. When UCSB’s admissions department discovered the student’s tampered application, they told the coach to ask the student to find a high school coach that can “put something together” portraying the student’s talent, the audit said. Then, UCSB admitted the student, according to the audit.
The four campuses evaluated in the audit “established policies for reviewing the talent of prospective student athletes,” but failed to provide evidence validating the talent review in certain cases, according to the audit.
UC President Michael V. Drake said in a statement on Aug. 27 that the UC will regulate inappropriate admissions activities in the future and that he will do everything he can “to ensure inappropriate admissions do not happen” again.
“I have zero tolerance in matters of compromised integrity. Our entire organization is committed to a level playing field for every applicant,” Drake said in the statement. “We hold ourselves to the highest standards and will take prompt action to address issues raised in the state auditor’s draft report.”
While each campus in the audit has a process to verify student athletes for admission, only UCSB and UCLA plan to mandate verification for all prospective student athletes, according to the audit. In addition, UCSB has also committed to reviewing each applicant’s donor history during the admissions process, according to the audit.