Wednesday, April 24

Community Briefs


Bar exam passing rate drops to 55.9 percent

The passing rate on the California bar exam in July dropped to
55.9 percent, the second straight year of decline, the State Bar
reported Monday.

The bar said 4,184 of the 7,487 applicants passed the three-day
test. Those who also pass the bar’s background check and other
requirements will join the state’s 150,000 lawyers.

The passing rate was 59.4 percent in July 1995 and 63.2 percent
the previous year. The exam is given twice a year, in February and
July. Scores in February traditionally are lower because most of
the applicants then have failed at least once before.

The passing rate last February was 43.7 percent.

Californians scored above the national average on the one-day
multiple choice section of the exam that is given in other states,
the bar said. The exam also includes essay questions on legal
problems and a section designed to measure practical skills.

UCI student fails to appear in court

An arrest warrant was issued Monday for a former UC Irvine
student who failed to appear in federal court to face charges of
sending e-mail threatening Asian students.

Richard Machado, 19, of Irvine was to have been arraigned by
Judge Elgin Edwards on 10 counts. Machado’s roommate told federal
agents that Machado took off with his car the day after being
indicted and never returned.

Machado allegedly sent the e-mail to about 60 UCI students Sept.
20.

It accused Asians of being responsible for all campus crime,
demanded they leave UCI and warned that he would kill them if they
didn’t go.

Machado was indicted on 10 counts of interference with a
federally protected activity. Machado is accused of violating the
students’ federal right to attend a public school and to be free
from intimidation.

Machado was not enrolled at the university when he used a
24-hour computer lab in the university’s Engineering building,
campus police said.

If convicted, Machado could face up to 10 years in jail and a
maximum $1 million fine. Gennaco said Machado may not face
additional charges for fleeing because he left before being served
with a summons.

UCB English professors denounces Prop. 209

Students at UC Berkeley were greeted Monday by an open letter
from members of the English department denouncing the wording of
Proposition 209, the recently passed ballot measure dismantling
many state affirmative action programs.

"As scholars and teachers of the English language, we condemn
the language of Proposition 209 as an abuse of civil rights
discourse,"

the statement began.

The authors went on to say that opponents of affirmative action
endorse diversity, equal treatment and a race- and gender-blind
society but that "these concepts become meaningless when they fail
to address enduring discrimination against women and racial
minorities."

The statement, which was not formally endorsed by the
department, stopped short of defying the law, which passed with 56
percent of the vote Nov. 5. It did however say that the new law
could affect the department’s ability to attract scholars from "the
full spectrum of American communities."

"We resist this possibility," said the 69 signers, including
professor and U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass. The letter ran in the
campus newspaper and also was posted on the walls of Wheeler Hall,
home to the English department.

Associate professor Sam Otter, vice chair for graduate studies
at the department, said the statement was generated by graduate
students in the department and then circulated for signatures.

It was hard to judge the impact of the statement. Department
acting chair Ralph Rader said the open letter was not an official
department pronouncement and "speaks for itself."

Compiled from Daily Bruin wire reports.

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