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.
“People ask, ‘Are you protesting Berkeley College Republicans?’ But no, they’re actually protesting us,” said Nolan Pack, a third-year student and volunteer at the phone banking event.
Devonte Jackson, campus organizing director for state affairs for the ASUC and UCSA, said that attendance for the phone bank doubled on the Facebook page after the announcement of the bake sale. He added that organizers were hoping to have around 200 people sign up to call the state to encourage Brown to sign the bill. By the end of the day, the event had gathered 217 signed commitments to call.
“The BCR have done nothing but help,” Jackson said. “All press is not good press. It’s becoming a campus climate issue, not a political issue. It’s reducing the community and their struggles to a cupcake, which is ridiculous.”
At a similar phone banking event held at the state legislature Aug. 19 advocating for the passage of AB 131, UC Berkeley gathered only 26 of the UC system’s total 652 commitments to call the legislature, according to Darius Kemp, organizing and communications director for UCSA.
The ASUC had planned a phone banking event on campus for Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to advocate for the approval of SB 185 by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill would authorize the UC system and CSU system to “consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions.”
The ASUC also advocated for SB 397, which would establish online voter registration, and AB 131, the second part of the California DREAM Act, which would authorize undocumented students to receive funding from the state. Brown has until Oct. 9 to approve all three bills.
The event on Tuesday was organized through the ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President as part of a larger UCSA call-in day on all UC campuses except UC Davis. ASUC External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman said that the event was “something they hadn’t seen before” in terms of volunteer turnout.
UC Berkeley junior Patrick Tamashiro said that while he already knew about the ASUC phone bank, the bake sale catalyzed the event and backfired for the Berkeley College Republicans because it helped the cause they intended to oppose by creating publicity for it.
Freeman said that awareness of the bill was one positive outcome to the controversial sale.
“Even though it’s been done in a way I don’t necessarily approve of, a lot of people are talking about it that wouldn’t necessarily be talking about it,” he said.