On eve of bake sale, multicultural community discusses diversity

Rashad Sisemore/Staff
Students and community members assemble at Wheeler Hall before moving to the Multicultural Community Center.

As the Berkeley College Republicans’ “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” approaches, a group of students met Monday evening to discuss broader issues of campus climate and diversity.

The meeting was held in the campus Multicultural Community Center after the group met on the steps of Wheeler Hall at 7 p.m. Student leaders asked The Daily Californian to refrain from attending the meeting due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed.

In an interview following the meeting, Salih Muhammad, chair of the campus Black Student Union, said there will be an assembly at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning on Upper Sproul Plaza.

Though the bake sale has garnered national attention and prompted discussions of racism across campus, Muhammad said the assembly is not being held in direct response to that event, but rather “to speak to the larger issue of climate sensitivity and awareness at UC Berkeley and the UC system as a whole.”

Ruben Canedo, another leader of the group, said in the same interview that the meeting discussed negative effects of Proposition 209 — a California ballot initiative passed in 1996 which effectively eliminated affirmative action in the state — on underrepresented communities.

SB 185 — affirmative action-like legislation currently awaiting signature from Gov. Jerry Brown — was also discussed at the meeting, Canedo said. The bill is the reason behind both the campus Republican group’s bake sale and the competing original event calling for the Governor’s signature.

Previously, a list of seven tentative demands regarding diversity on campus were posted online, but Muhammad said those remain strictly notes as of now.