Heads turned once again on Feb. 11 as the UCI College Republicans held a bake sale designed to demonstrate their position against Affirmative Action. This sale came after a similar, highly controversial bake sale conducted last September which was stopped by the dean of students following student complaints.
Krispy Kreme donuts were sold at different prices to customers, depending on a combination of one’s race and gender.
The College Republicans were aware that there could have been possible conflict with other groups and individuals this time around, as seen with the events that followed the first bake sale.
In September, individuals angered by the sale got in heated arguments with members of the College Republicans and one student tore down a sign made by the club. Yet, despite the potential controversy, the group felt that they needed to have a second demonstration because of recent studies suggesting that Affirmative Action still occurs within the UC system.
‘We decided to have another bake sale because there was new data indicating that Affirmative Action may be alive and well in the UC system,’ said Bryan Zuetel, president of the College Republicans. ‘A study commissioned by UC Regent John Moore showed that 374 students were admitted to UC Berkeley with SAT scores of 600 to 1,000. UC Berkeley has an average SAT score of 1,337.’
Another reason the College Republicans decided to have a second bake sale was to see how the administration would respond.
‘We were also testing the university administration to see if they would once again disregard our First Amendment rights as they had last time,’ Zuetel said. ‘I am glad that Dean of Students Sally Peterson learned the true meaning of the First Amendment and free speech, and did not work to shut down our bake sale this time.’
According to adminstration, the sale held last September ended abruptly after the College Republicans refused to follow rules set forth by the administration that would allow them to continue.
‘We didn’t shut them down in September,’ said Dean of Students Sally Peterson. ‘We told them that they were engaged in a discriminatory sale so they would have to stop selling [the donuts], or sell them all at the same price.’
In the previous sale, the College Republicans requested that their sale be allowed to continue and asked to write the words, ‘Suggested Prices,’ on their price list to end any discriminatory sale. Yet, the administration still did not allow them to continue their bake sale.
However, the administration did not stop their recent bake sale because the words ‘Suggested Prices’ were displayed on their price list at the beginning of the sale.
When questioned about the seemingly contradictory actions, Peterson responded, ‘[In September] they had already sold half of their donuts. They already engaged in a discriminatory sale. [This] time, I think they were very smart by putting up, right from the get-go, ‘Suggested Prices’.’
‘For some reason, the administration seems to flip-flop with their stance on free speech,’ Zuetel said. ‘[The administration] censored our free speech last time and knew they were wrong for doing so. They attempted to use a lame excuse this time to explain why they would not be censoring our speech again.’
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit educational foundation which supports freedom of expression in university campuses across the nation, was pleased by the success of the bake sale.
A similar bake sale which was also previously curtailed because of accusations of discrimination was successfully held in the University of Colorado campus on Feb. 9.
‘Administrators are finally realizing that the sky will not fall when they allow students to exercise their First Amendment and free speech rights,’ said Greg Lukianoff, the director of legal and public advocacy for FIRE in a press statement released on Feb. 13. ‘The universities just could not justify their arguments that the Affirmative Action bake sales did not constitute protected political speech.’
Students’ opinions varied on the bake sale.
Christian Cornejo, a third-year history major, supported the sale and is against Affirmative Action.
‘As a Hispanic person, I would want to be admitted on academic qualities and not on race. I don’t think [the sale] is discriminatory at all … They are just demonstrating a principle,’ Conejo said.
Another student, Erin Costino, a first-year psychology and social behavior major, believed that the sale was acceptable on the basis of free speech and the First Amendment.
‘I think it’s great that the conservatives can finally speak their minds in such a liberal setting,’ Costino said.
Second-year mathematics major Jared Wigginton agreed.
‘I believe in the cause of [Affirmative Action], not
necessarily the application. However, I think they have
every right to do this,’ Wigginton said.
However, there were others that did not agree with the demonstration put forth by the College Republicans.
After walking past the booth, an anonymous student called the members of the organization, ‘Dumb asses.’
Members of the College Republicans felt that the bake sale went well.
‘Looks like the administration made the right decision to allow freedom of speech,’ said College Republican secretary John Malinowski.
‘I believe the event went well. We were approached by several people and had very civil, informative discussions. Also, the administration respected our free speech rights this time, much to our surprise,’ Zuetel said.
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