Bake sale going forward as planned despite national protest

Students and community members pass through Sather Gate on their way to a meeting in the Multicultural Community Center.
Rashad Sisemore/Staff
Students and community members pass through Sather Gate on their way to a meeting in the Multicultural Community Center.

Despite massive outcries of protest from campus organizations, the Berkeley College Republicans are adamant in going ahead with their controversial bake sale.

The sale — intended as a satirical response to the affirmative action-like SB 185 currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature — will involve baked goods that are priced by race and sex. Under the pricing structure, white students would have to pay $2.00 for a pastry, for example, while Latinos would pay $1.00 and Native Americans would pay $0.25. Women would receive a blanket 25 cent discount.

It is scheduled to occur in Sproul Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — the same time period as an ASUC-sponsored phone bank in support of SB 185.

Since its announcement last week, the sale has received the attention of several major media outlets and heavy criticism from the campus community. Most recently, a campuswide email signed by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande states that the publicizing of the event was “contrary to the Principles of Community we espouse as a campus.”

“It is our sincere hope that the strong reactions generated by the proposed bake sale provide a vivid lesson that issues of race, ethnicity, and gender are far from resolved, and very much a part of lived experience here and now,”  the email states.

The email also “firmly endorses”  the sentiments of a bill in support of respectful student group conduct,  passed by the ASUC Senate in a special meeting Sunday night.

Due to the amount of press coverage that the event has garnered, Andrew Glidden of the California Patriot, a conservative political magazine published at UC Berkeley, said there is a possibility that other universities’ political student groups will show up tomorrow to voice their opinions as well.

“We’re going to see college Republicans from San Jose, Sacramento, (UC) Davis, University of the Pacific,” said Shawn Lewis, the president of Berkeley College Republicans. “We’ve heard that they’re going to be sending some people out. There’s a lot of excitement building.”

Anais LaVoie, president of the Cal Berkeley Democrats, called the event “too much of a publicity stunt.” She said she encourages UC Berkeley students to attend the originally planned phone bank event in Sproul.

Some members of the Berkeley College Republicans said they have received threats from opponents of the bake sale.

“I’ve been personally targeted many times,” said Mia Lincoln, the group’s external vice president. “People are saying that we brought this discussion off in an inflammatory way, and that’s true. It was just meant to get the discussion started: Is it fair to base college admissions off of race? Is it fair to base cupcakes off of race?”

A similar anti-affirmative action bake sale, also staged by the Berkeley College Republicans, occurred at UC Berkeley in 2003. Bake sales have also occurred at UC Irvine and UCLA, among other colleges.

UC Student Regent Alfredo Mireles Jr., who was present at the 2003 bake sale, expressed his disapproval about tomorrow’s event.

“I remember being kind of baffled by such a clumsy, insensitive way to deal with an issue that is very sensitive,” he said. “It is not only an offensive way to address a sensitive issue, but it is also something college Republicans have been doing for years. The affirmative action bake sale is not only offensive, but it is really unoriginal.”

Lincoln said that the current group knew about these previous events.

“We were thinking it would be timely with the ASUC-sponsored phone bank — this is a really timely issue,” she said. “We thought the ASUC was sponsoring something that the (student body) might not have a complete opinion on.”

A number of people have posted their personal comments on the Facebook event page for the bake sale.

“I support the work that the College Republicans are doing on our campus. Their fight against affirmative action is honorable and justified by any means necessary,” posted Daniel Cardenas, a UC Berkeley alumnus. “This fight has been going on since before I was a student.”

UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode said the police are aware of the bake sale. Following traditional procedures, the department will monitor Sproul Plaza in ways similar to how they monitor any event, said DeCoulode. In addition to a Sproul Plaza officer, other police officers will be also on the scene to ensure crowd safety.