A bake sale by Berkeley College Republicans yesterday that was aimed at satirizing race-based admissions generated heated debates and counter-protests but no major problems.
Andy Nevis, the executive director of the student Republican group at the University of California at Berkeley, said the "Increase Diversity Bake Sale," in which the recommended prices were based on race and gender, highlights their opposition to state Senate Bill 185.
The bill, which was approved by the state Legislature and now sits on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk, would allow the university to consider race, gender, ethnicity and other factors in graduate and undergraduate admissions.
Nevis said it's appropriate for admissions officials to consider factors other than applicants' test scores and grades, such as low-income backgrounds and challenging circumstances, in making admissions decisions. But he said university officials shouldn't base admissions decisions on race.
"No one should get a preference based on their race or ethnicity," he said.
But Yvette Felarca of By Any Means Necessary said the activist group held a counter-demonstration near the Berkeley College Republicans' table on Sproul Plaza in the heart of the campus "because we wanted to represent the proud voice of students who are unequivocally for affirmative action and equal opportunity and integrating the University of California system."
Felarca said UC officials should change their current admissions policies because she believes they are race-based in that "they favor white privilege" by relying heavily on standardized tests that she thinks "are racially- and economically biased" to favor white students at the expense of black and Latino students.
Only about 3 percent of the freshmen who entered UC Berkeley this fall are black and only about 12 percent are Latino, she said, accusing university officials of having "a conscious policy of seclusion and discrimination" against students of those races.
The bake sale by Berkeley College Republicans called for goods to be sold at varying prices depending on students' race and gender.
The price was $2 for whites, $1.50 for Asian-Americans, $1 for Latinos and Hispanics, 75 cents for blacks and 25 cents for Native Americans. Women received a 25-cent discount from the price for their race.
Francisco Loayza, a senior from Modesto who serves as the group's treasurer, said the group didn't enforce those prices due to discrimination laws but most customers paid them voluntarily.
"There was a lot of positive reaction" to the sale, Loayza said.
Nevis said, "There were a few heated discussions" between the Republican group and those who objected to the bake sale but there weren't any problems. About 150 people who belong to the Black Student Union and other organizations that support affirmative action, most of whom were dressed in black, protested the bake sale by silently lying on their backs in the middle of Sproul Plaza for about an hour starting at noon.
Several people who opposed the bake sale carried signs that said, "Bake Sale Republicans Have Too Much Dough."
Another group that opposed the bake sale held a "Conscious Cupcakes" giveaway in which they handed out their own goods for free.
Members of the group carried signs that said "Free Food" and "Free Hugs."