Basketball superstar Baron Davis and the Chicago Bears’ Brendon Ayanbadejo have started an organization to raise awareness of the dwindling enrollment of minority students at their alma mater, UCLA. California’s anti-affirmative action Prop. 209 has had a devastating effect: This year’s freshman class of 5,000 contains fewer than 100 African American students, 20 of them on athletic scholarship.
Ayanbadejo and former UCLA basketball star Baron Davis have formed We Should Not Be the Only Ones (weshouldnotbetheonlyones.org) a group whose name refers to the increasing indication that the only black students UCLA appears to want are those with exceptional vertical leaps or 40-yard dash times.
The numbers demand words. Loud words, angry words. For the fall 2006 freshman class, less than 100 African Americans enrolled, the fewest in more than 30 years. Twenty of them were on athletic scholarship, which means we’re getting dangerously close to making a fact from the stereotypical assumption that a black student on campus is an athlete. A ranking of African American student admissions in the fall of 2005 put UCLA 29th among the top 30 colleges and universities.
For those athletes who want to make a difference, it means stepping into the hostile venues of bureaucracy and politics.
“It’s a daunting task, but you’ve got to start somewhere,” Ayanbadejo said. “We’re at the point where we’re saying, ‘This is enough.’
“We’re here to bring light to the situation, see if we can make change through dialogue and bring people on board.”