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Princeton gains two high-profile faculty

PRINCETON, N.J. - Princeton University announced last week that Cornel West, a distinguished Afro-American studies professor from Harvard, and award-winning Korean-American author Chang-rae Lee will start teaching at the New Jersey campus this fall. The two appointments, some observers say, will make Princeton's programs in African-American studies and creative writing among the strongest in the United States.

The move is a homecoming for Professor West, who taught religion at Princeton and led its African-American studies program until 1994. But it is a blow to Harvard, which also is losing Afro-American studies scholar K. Anthony Appiah to its Ivy League competitor.

West gained prominence with his 1993 book "Race Matters," and is known as the intellectual front man for community-based empowerment efforts like the Million Man March and confabs on hip-hop music. His decision capped a very public dispute between West and Harvard President Lawrence Summers over issues surrounding affirmative action and West's scholarship.

Mr. Lee attracted attention in 1995 with his debut novel "Native Speaker," which won the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the American Book Award. The book is narrated by a young New Yorker who works for a private intelligence agency and has been assigned to spy on a Korean-American councilman. Another award-winning novel, "A Gesture Life," tells the story of an elderly medic who remembers treating Korean "comfort women" during World War II.

Minority admissions rise in California

SAN DIEGO - For the first time, the University of California system has admitted more minority students than it did just before it abolished race-based affirmative action. Of students admitted for 2002, 19.1 percent were from Hispanic, black, or native American backgrounds. That is up from 18.8 percent in 1997, the last year the system used race as a factor in admissions. But the numbers are still lower at the most competitive campuses: At UCLA, for example, the total number of minority admissions, 1,675, is still below the 2,010 the campus accepted in 1997.

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