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Racist’ bake sale causes a stir at UC Berkeley

Courtesy of MCT

A bake sale at the University of California, Berkeley is sparking political debate concerning the consideration of race when it comes to college admissions.

On Tuesday, the Berkeley College Republicans staged what they called “Increase Diversity Bake Sale,” which was in response to Senate Bill 185. This state legislation in California would allow universities to consider race, ethnicity, gender and national origin during their admissions process.

During the Berkeley bake sale, prices of the baked goods were dependent on the customer’s ethnicity. Caucasians paid $2; Asian paid $1.50; Latinos paid $1; African Americans paid 75 cents; and Native Americans paid $.25. Women paid 25 cents less than the price for their respective ethnicities.

The bake sale drew huge crowds both in support and protest of the bake sale. The Coalition, a newly formed student organization on campus staged a protest to the bake sale at the same time. The Coalition, in favor of Senate Bill 185, staged a protest on the plaza at Berkeley which involved an estimated 250 people lying on the ground.

Ohio State and the state of Ohio operates under the federal decision made in response to the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies, which states that a student’s race, ethnicity, gender and national origin can be included in the decision-making process, but it can’t be the deciding factor.

According to the OSU Diversity Action Plan, OSU hopes to “continue to recruit, retain and graduate greater numbers of ethnic minority students.”

In 2010, white students made up 75 percent of the incoming class. African-American students were 5.9 percent, Asian Americans were 5.6 per cent and Latino students were 3.6 percent of the student population, according to the OSU admissions website.

Similar events about the same issue have occurred at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Both were shut down by officials, according to reports and an article by CNN.

OSU’s College Republicans have not addressed the issue of affirmative action on campus. During their annual “Conservative Week,” the College Republicans put on events such as Fun with Guns, Global Cooling Day and PETA BBQ.

OSU College Republicans president Meagan Cyrus said they have no collaboration or direct affiliation with Berkeley’s campus group.

“The College Republicans at The Ohio State University support all individuals, regardless of race or gender, who choose to pursue higher education which will allow a greater chance for a higher paying job which in turn is good for the economy,” Cyrus said in an email.

T.J. McGarry, a first-year in journalism, agreed with the bake sale and feels that the students got their point across.

“If we want to treat everyone as equals then you can’t be offering scholarships to only members of a certain race or ethnicity which they definitely do,” McGarry said. “We want to act like everybody’s equal but at times we still try to give somewhat of a handicap to certain ethnicities and I don’t think that’s fair.”

In an article about the event by CNN, president of Berkeley’s College Republicans, Shawn Lewis, said they know their public display is innately racist.

“But that is the point,” Lewis wrote to CNN. “It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race (or) gender.”

Attempts to reach Shawn Lewis and other leaders of Berkeley College Republicans for comment were not successful.

The president of College Democrats at OSU, Michael Triozzi, said he expects better from anyone who is educated about the history and struggles of African Americans and other minorities in America.

“It seems to me that this is a group of people who are taking a very complex and serious thing like racial issues in America and simplifying it, reducing it to the point of ignorance,” said Triozzi.

Emily Collins, a first-year in Japanese, agreed that the bake sale was ignorant and hopes she doesn’t see anything similar on OSU’s campus.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Collins said. “I think there are a lot easier ways to make their point.”

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