Amid a national media storm and an outcry of racism, the Berkeley College Republicans are holding their “Increase Diversity Bake Sale,” which sets a tiered price system for baked goods based on race and sex. The sale today is intended to satirically protest SB 185 — affirmative action-like legislation that is currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. However, campus student leaders and administrators have condemned the event, which was first announced on Facebook Thursday night.
Chloe Hunt, Nicholas Luther, Curan Mehra, JD Morris, Annie Sciacca, Alex Sklueff, Amruta Trivedi, Christopher Yee and Mihir Zaveri of The Daily Californian reporting from the field.
“The Coalition,” a newly formed cross-cultural, cross-gender group, held a press conference in the Cesar Chavez Student Center to present demands of the campus, administration and state government. The press conference lasted approximately 15 minutes and the coalition did not take questions after reading its statement.
“We are a united body of students that are working to transform the public higher education system,” said Naomi Wilson, a member of the coalition, at the press conference. “The Coalition’s demonstration today, known as ‘The Affirmation,’ is our beginning action. We will no longer allow the university to pacify us by minimally addressing these issues.”
The Berkeley College Republicans have cleaned up their table and are walking off of Sproul Plaza.
As the scale of demonstrations has diminished, political debates have sparked up at the Berkeley College Republicans table. Topics include affirmative action and the distribution of wealth in American society.
BAMN representatives at the bake sale table in Sproul Plaza have issued a challenge to the Berkeley College Republicans to debate affirmative action. If the campus Republicans agree, BAMN has said that it will book Pauley Ballroom for the event.
The “Conscious Cupcake Giveaway” has wrapped up its distribution of over 200 baked goods.
“We didn’t set up closer to (the Berkeley College Republicans) because this wasn’t about confrontation,” said Damaris Olaechea, who gave away cupcakes. “It is a forum for many voices, not a screaming match.”
According to members of the “black out” protest, the protest finished early because of the heat.
Members of Cloyne have given away thousands of sugary snacks on the plaza.
“We gave away about 2000 baked goods, now we’re giving out free hugs,” said Haley Kitchens, a third-year UC Berkeley student. “We’re arguing against the way they went about this in a discriminatory and hateful way.”
A little after 1:00 p.m., the ‘black out’ protesters stood up on Sproul Plaza and chanted, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom.” They are now dispersing and leaving Sproul Plaza.
Randy Adam Romero/Staff
BAMN is no longer protesting in front of the campus Republicans’ table. The area of the table does not have protesters directly in front of it, except for anti-SB 185 demonstrators.
The campus Republicans’ has sold out of cupcakes. Cookies are still available. People at the Republicans’ table said that most people who took baked goods were willing to pay for them.
In response to BAMN’s chants directly at the Berkeley College Republicans, Derek Zhou, vice president of the group, said “it’s free speech.”
“They have just as much of a right as us,” he added.
Protesters against SB 185 have formed a human barrier around the back of the bake sale table.
Randy Adam Romero/Staff
Members of the group known as By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) are chanting directly in front of the bake sale: “Affirmative action is a must. We won’t go to the back of the bus” and “Hey hey, ho ho, this racist bake sale’s got to go.”
Compared to other events currently occurring, there is not much to report from the ASUC phone bank.
“It’s quiet here because of all the spectacle over there,” said Nolan Pack, sustainability coordinator in the ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President. “We’re being serious about making a difference while they’re over there using a cheap gimmick to get attention.”
Protesters are still lying down.
“I hope it’s comfortable for them,” said Ward Connerly, a former UC Regent and a driving force behind Proposition 209 who is working with the Berkeley College Republicans at the bake sale.
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff
12: 02 p.m.
As the clock struck twelve, the line of protesters lay down on Upper Sproul Plaza.
“The Republicans’ basic message is that people of color and women would benefit most from SB 185,” said Lou Brown, a volunteer at the Revolution Bookstore who is protesting in front of the bake sale. “But Governor Brown’s weak ass bill doesn’t even come close to making amends for hundreds of years of slavery and exploitation.”
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff
11: 59 a.m.
Meanwhile, business is continuing at the bake sale as members of the Berkeley College Republicans discussing SB 185 with customers.
“In order to move society forward, we’ve got to look past race” said Derek Zhou, vice president of the group.
11: 55 a.m.
The roughly 300 people are all beginning to face Sproul Hall and join hands.
11: 48 a.m.
The line of approximately 300 protesters dressed in black has now moved to Upper Sproul Plaza. Participants are not talking to reflect their silent protest.
11: 43 a.m.
The group dressed in black who were formerly gathered at Lower Sproul Plaza have stopped moving at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. Several are carrying signs with messages that include “Don’t UC Us” and “UC Us Now.”
“We’re committed,” said Salih Muhammad, chair of the campus Black Student Union, addressing the crowd. “We’re ready to make change on this campus.”
11: 33 a.m.
11: 24 a.m.
Students including members of the Black Student Union have started a march from Lower Sproul Plaza to the bake sale on Upper Sproul Plaza. They plan to peacefully protest by lying on their backs for two hours, starting at noon.
11: 21 a.m.
The group gathered on Lower Sproul Plaza has started chanting: “It’s our duty to fight for our freedom,” “We have nothing to lose but our chains” and “It is our duty to win.
Meanwhile, Haitian-American Andre Louis, an ex-Berkeley student, joined in the protest on the side of the Berkeley College Republicans, helping them hold signs. He is not officially affiliated with the BCR.
“(UC Berkeley) demonstrates on a daily basis that it cares much more about politics, political correctness and demagoguery than either free inquiry or education, which is what I stand here defending,” he said. “I don’t see how the means (of the BCR bake sale) are offensive. Satire is a much used and successful political tactic historically.”
UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri said that members of the Berkeley College Republicans do not reflect complete understanding of the issue in their bake sale.
Meanwhile, over at the ASUC phone bank in support of SB 185 — the event that triggered the campus Republicans’ bake sale, which in turned sparked the campus racism debate and the national media attention — has seen about 50 people sign up to make calls, according to Beatrice Montenegro, a UC Student Association field organizer.
A BAMN protest has line up across from the Berkeley College Republicans’ table, where members of the campus Republicans’ group are standing with signs protesting SB 185.
Across from them, Ronald Cruz, an attorney with BAMN, is still talking through his megaphone.
“They have not answered he opposition or called for debate,” he said.
UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri spoke in an interview on Sproul Plaza: “We’d be ready for race blind admissions if, when you looked through the K-12 system and the academic performance indexes for the different races, you saw no correlation. Currently we are not there.”
UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode said that there are “several” officers in Sproul Plaza monitoring the bake sale.
Meanwhile, a group of around 100 people dressed in all black are gathering in Lower Sproul Plaza.
Thirty-five cupcakes have been sold so far.
Elia Kritz, dressed as a Native American, said the bake sale is offensive because it trivializes the issue of affirmative action.
“If (the Berkeley College Republicans) were serious about the issue, they would have done something serious,” she said.
UC Berkeley junior Byron Hunt also took issue with the event.
“I think this bake sale is pretty counter productive,” he said. “They could have sent their message without causing such a controversy.”
Ronald Cruz, an attorney working to restore affirmative action, spoke to the gathering crowd in Sproul Plaza.
“Let’s not let this event be unprotested, speak out for equality today,” he said.
BAMN has also arrived at the plaza.
Liana Mulholland, who graduated the University of Michigan in 2009, said she was protesting with BAMN because “they work to restore affirmative action.”
“It is the key to defending public education at all levels,” she said.
Ward Connerly, a former UC Regent and a driving force behind Proposition 209, has come to UC Berkeley to help the Berkeley College Republicans sell cupcakes.
UC Berkeley Professor of political science Wendy Brown tried to buy all the baked goods at the Republicans’ sale, but they did not allow her to do so.
“I thought the Republicans were free enterprise, but they won’t let me buy all the cupcakes,” she said.
Randy Adam Romero/Staff
The Berkeley College Republicans have begun to set up their table. Police and media outnumber other attendees at this point.