In 1996 California voters approved Proposition 209:
a California ballot proposition which, upon approval in November 1996, amended the state constitution to prohibit state governmental institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education.
Now we have “Gifts to UC Santa Cruz fund new presidential chair for diversity in astronomy”, in which the last line is “The UC Office of the President provided matching funds of $500,000.”
In theory a white male who loudly espoused a commitment to diversity could apply for this position:
The endowed chair was created to advance the cause of diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence in astronomy. The holder of the chair will embody the spirit of diversity in one of a variety of ways, such as their proven ability to attract and train new astronomers from all walks of life.
For Sandra Faber, who worked with Rubin at the Carnegie Institution of Washington early in her career, the more experienced astronomer served as a model of a successful woman in a field dominated by men. “At a time when few women succeeded in science, especially astrophysics, Rubin began to pave the way for all members of underrepresented groups,” Faber said.
How successful was Vera Rubin in her paving project?
Women have composed half of UC Santa Cruz astronomy Ph.D. students for more than a decade, and 30 percent of current graduate students come from underrepresented backgrounds. The department’s six active women professors are the largest tenured cohort of female astronomers in the nation, led by eminent scientists such as Faber and Claire Max, director of UC Observatories.
Can this be consistent with the state constitution? The holder of the chair will embody the spirit of diversity. Doesn’t that suggest that the color and/or genetic sex of the applicant’s body will be considered, contrary to the constitution?