This page will aggregate The Daily Californian’s coverage of the Berkeley College Republicans’ “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” and the campus community’s response.
Here you will find news, videos and analysis of the controversy.
Over the course of just a few days, “The Coalition,” a newly-formed multicultural student group, planned and executed a die-in, and recruited over 250 demonstrators.
The organization, which formed out of protest to the Berkeley College Republicans’ bake sale, made its presence known Tuesday by conducting a demonstration on Sproul Plaza with over 250 participants. However, the group’s grievances extend far beyond the bake sale, all the way to the generally “poor campus climate,” according to Salih Muhammad, chair of the Black Students Union and coalition demonstrator.
“When you see that there is such a large power that’s overtly oppressing, then that calls for coalition building because, clearly, individually it’s not working,” said Ruben Canedo, another member of the coalition. “This is why we gotta come together, to show this is not just an individual issue, but it’s a collective issue, a systemic issue.”
If he had a chance to do it again, said Berkeley College Republicans President Shawn Lewis, he wouldn’t.
But Lewis believes that Tuesday’s “Increase Diversity Bake Sale,” which led to international uproar, disapproval from the campus student government and administration and violent threats for the group’s members, was largely a success.
“I don’t regret the fact that we’ve started a debate on campus,” he said.
He and other members of his group acknowledged that the sale was racist, but deliberately so.
“Sometimes you have to do things that are wrong in order to correct things which are more wrong,” said former UC Regent Ward Connerly, who was present at the sale and who was the main proponent behind Proposition 209, banning affirmative action in California with its implementation in 1997.
Hundreds of students and community members convened on Upper Sproul Plaza Tuesday to protest the controversial “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” hosted by the Berkeley College Republicans, peaking in a demonstration that saw hundreds of protesters lie on their backs in front of Sproul Hall.
The most dramatic protest of the day began when a group of about 200 students dressed entirely in black marched from Lower Sproul Plaza to Upper Sproul Plaza at about 11:30 a.m. chanting, “It’s our duty to fight for our freedom” and “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
As the Sather Tower clock struck noon, the group of demonstrators — which introduced itself as “The Coalition” in brochures members handed out — laid down on their backs on the ground in front of Sproul Hall and were silent.
Aside from a few protesters standing among the group and holding signs with messages including “Don’t UC Us” and “UC Us Now,” the only other coalition members not lying down handed out free sunscreen and cups of water to those on the ground.
Several coalition members were stationed at intervals around the perimeter of the protesting group to hand out brochures and keep passersby from walking through the lying-down crowd. These members were instructed to decline comment to the press.
Although the coalition protesters had initially planned to lie down in protest until 2 p.m., they were forced to cut their demonstration short by about one hour due to the hot weather.
Across from the Berkeley College Republicans’ “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” on Upper Sproul Plaza — which attracted flocks of students and media Tuesday — representatives from the ASUC quietly recruited students to call the state in support of three bills, including the one that sparked the controversy.
The phone bank, which was organized after the ASUC Senate unanimously voted to pass a bill supporting SB 185, triggered the Berkeley College Republicans’ bake sale, which satirically protested the effort by selling baked goods at different prices based on race and sex.
Ward Connerly, former UC Regent and the driving force behind Proposition 209, has come to Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley to help the Berkeley College Republicans sell cupcakes at their “Increase Diversity Bake Sale.”
Proposition 209, approved by California voters in 1996, effectively eliminated affirmative action. The proposition banned the state’s public institutions from considering race, ethnicity or sex.
“This bake sale is racist,” he said. “It’s only the way to call attention to the problem (of considering race in admissions).”
By J.D. Morris – 9/27/11
Debates over racism, diversity and affirmative action have taken Sproul Plaza by storm as the highly controversial “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” is began Tuesday morning.
The bake sale began at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning near Sather Gate and is being held by the Berkeley College Republicans in protest of SB 185 — affirmative-action like legislation currently awaiting signature from Gov. Jerry Brown. Nearby, an ASUC-sponsored phone bank is encouraging students to call for the governor’s signature of the bill.
Since the kickoff of the events, crowds of hundreds of activists, students and community members have swarmed the plaza. The bake sale has garnered national media attention and heavy negative backlash from the community due to the pricing structure it publicized, in which the cost of a baked good varied according to the consumer’s race and sex.
“Yeah, it’s racist, but more importantly, SB 185 is racist,” said former UC Regent Ward Connerly, who has been sitting behind the campus Republicans’ table.
By Chloe Hunt & Amy Wang | 9/26/11
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.
Members of the Berkeley College Republicans were excluded from the town hall meeting of a coalition of UC Berkeley students seeking to promote multiculturalism and open dialogue on Friday night.
The meeting originated in the Rochdale Village Apartments and was subsequently moved to the Multicultural Community Center in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, where over 200 people were in attendance.
According to Berkeley College Republicans President Shawn Lewis, a member of the Republican group who gained access to the meeting later that night in the campus multicultural center, an announcement was made barring admittance to Republicans and members of the press.
“We were told that we were not part of the community that needed healing and refused entrance to the meeting,” said Mia Lincoln, external vice president of the Berkeley College Republicans.
Salih Muhammad, one of the leaders of the student coalition, said the Republicans were in fact asked to leave because the meeting was meant to be a venting opportunity for the community.
“If someone slapped you in the face and you were gathering with your family to grieve and cry, then it would be hugely inappropriate for the person who slapped you to show up and try to explain it,” said Ruben Canedo, another leader of the student coalition.
By Jessica Rossoni | 9/26/11
With national uproar sparked by a bake sale set to descend Tuesday on Sproul Plaza, the root of the issue might go overlooked — SB 185, a piece of affirmative action-like legislation currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.
The constitutionality of the bill — which would allow the UC and CSU to consider factors such as race, gender, geographical origin and household income in student admissions — has been questioned due to its similarity to affirmative action.
Opponents of the bill — authored by state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina — say it goes against Proposition 209. The proposition, approved by voters in 1996, effectively ended the use of affirmative action by forbidding preferential treatment for any student on the basis of race, gender, economic status or ethnicity.
From Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion Gibor Basri, and Vice Chancellor Harry LeGrande:
An Open Letter to the Campus Community
Last week an incident occurred that was contrary to the Principles of Community we espouse as a campus. The Berkeley College Republicans (an ASUC sponsored organization) publicized an “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” that prices baked goods according to a person’s ethnicity, race, or gender. This event has moved the campus community into dialogue, because it was hurtful or offensive to many of its members.
Illustrating the breadth of the offense taken, last night the ASUC Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning the methodology used by BCR and urging respectful conduct by all student organizations. The administration firmly endorses those sentiments. 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.
By Jason Willick | 9/26/11
Though the ASUC Senate did not take formal action against the Berkeley College Republicans at the senate’s emergency meeting Sunday, individual students could file charge sheets against the group — but formal punishment for the group is fraught with technical, procedural and legal difficulties.
The senate unanimously passed “A Bill in Support of Respectful ASUC Student Group Conduct,” which makes note of the fact that the ASUC has the authority to revoke sponsorship for a student group through the ASUC Judicial Council. The bill stresses the council’s responsibility to “review charges of violation” of the constitution and bylaws.
In other words, the senate left the door open to punitive action against the campus Republicans’ group while declining to take action at the meeting.
If the council considers the charges filed against the group, it will find itself in a quandary, as two relevant portions of the ASUC constitution and bylaws are inconsistent with one another. The bylaws state that sponsorship can be revoked if a group “discriminates in its method of recruitment and acceptance for membership.” Even if the group were to be found guilty of discriminatory conduct, it would not be guilty of discriminating with regard to member selection.
By Sara Grossman | 9 /25/11
The ASUC Senate unanimously passed a bill at an emergency meeting Sunday evening to promote “respectful ASUC student organization conduct,” in light of the controversy surrounding the Berkeley College Republicans’ plans to hold an “Increase Diversity Bake Sale.”
The bake sale — which created a tiered structure for the pricing of baked goods based on race — sparked immediate backlash of such size that the Senate called the emergency meeting within hours of the announcement. ASUC senators communicated by email and in person over the course of two days to draft the bill that would address student concerns as well as the larger campus climate.
By J.D. Morris | 9/25/11
In response to an upcoming controversial bake sale on campus, a list of seven tentative demands by a coalition of UC Berkeley students of the campus administration were posted online — but leaders of that coalition said the demands are not finalized and their release was premature.
“The leaders of a developing multicultural coalition are not responsible for this (blog post’s) publication,” said Salih Muhammad and Reuben Canedo, members of the coalition’s logistics committee, in a statement. “The (post) reflects notes from a community meeting that we held on Friday, September 23, and all points on here will be critically discussed and developed as a communal body. The leaders of this coalition do not endorse the aforementioned statements… We look forward to better communication in our collective futures.”
By Sara Grossman | 9/24/11
Student leaders from various organizations have publicly denounced the Berkeley College Republicans’ plans to hold an “Increase Diversity Bake Sale,” where the race of the consumer would determine the price of a baked good.
By Sara Grossman | 9/23/11
In a move that triggered immediate backlash from the UC Berkeley student community, the Berkeley College Republicans announced plans Thursday night to host an “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” in opposition to Affirmative Action-like legislation awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.
The original post announcing the bake sale — which created a tiered structure for the pricing of baked goods based on race — incensed students across campus, who decried the event on Facebook, calling it “racist,” “stupid” and “pathetic,” among other things.
Negative responses to the event flooded the Facebook event page, which the organization soon changed to a less inflammatory post — a move Berkeley College Republican President Shawn Lewis said in a Facebook comment “in no way means to ‘cover up’ the previous description.”