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University of California regents banned the use of quotas based on race and gender in admissions, hiring and contracting Thursday — underscoring their intent to limit how they would restore affirmative action if state voters approve its use again.

In June, regents unanimously backed an effort to eliminate the longtime ban on affirmative action in public education and employment, which California voters approved in 1996 with passage of Proposition 209. That ban would be repealed by a proposed constitutional amendment, Proposition 16, on the Nov. 3 ballot.

But to make clear the UC system would not use quotas even if Proposition 16 passes, regents adopted an official policy against them. The action aligns the 10-campus system with federal law and court decisions that ban quotas, although they allow the consideration of race in limited circumstances. UC officials have said they would use race and gender in admissions decisions as just two of several factors considered, along with grades, high school coursework, special talents, and family economic and educational backgrounds.

“It makes very clear that we do not engage nor will we engage in race-based quotas and caps,” Board of Regents Chairman John A. Pérez said of the new policy. “This puts this on the record squarely.”

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