Bake Sale
Debate over a diversity in education bill in California has led to a "racist bake sale" and resulting controversy. Image: Flickr / envizion / CC-BY

California’s SB 185 is a bill that would allow California public universities to consider non-academic factors in admissions. SB 185 is intended to “increase campus diversity,” but there are strong opinions on both sides of the debate.

Racist bake sale at Berkeley

The UC Berkeley College Republicans strongly oppose SB 185. In order to highlight what the College Republicans say would be unequal treatment, the group will be holding a “racist bake sale.” The bake sale will charge $2 for white individuals, $1.50 for Asian, $1 for Latino, $.75 for African-Americans, $.25 for Native Americans and $.25 off for all women. After an outpouring of anger from students, the College Republicans at UC Berkeley changed the Facebook event description to read:

“The pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical, while urging students to think more critically about the implications of this policy.”

The problematic wording of SB 185

The text of California SB 185 reads:

The California State University may consider race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, geographic origin, and household income, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions, so long as no preference is given.

This consideration may take place if and when the university, campus, college, school, or program is attempting to obtain educational benefit through the recruitment of a multifaceted, diverse student body.

One of the biggest issues with the bill is that fact that it does allow the consideration of groups that may be protected, but does not allow “preference.” This difference has not been clarified, and civil rights groups are concerned that the bill would allow for the kind of discrimination that has taken decades to minimize in academic communities.

Race in higher education

The more diverse a college campus or university campus is, the better students tend to do, academically. In pursuit of racial diversity, though, colleges could end up preferring certain groups over others, which may mean unequal treatment. As ranked by a U.S. News and World Report formula, the most diverse California higher education institution is Stanford, with a “diversity rate” of 71 percent.

Sources

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/27/us/california-racial-bake-sale/index.html?npt=NP1
E-Lobbyist: http://e-lobbyist.com/gaits/text/351079
DailyCal: http://www.dailycal.org/2011/09/23/uc-berkeley-college-republican-bake-sale-elicits-cries-of-racism/
US News and World Report: http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/campus-ethnic-diversity/spp+50
ACS: http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=1850&content_id=WPCP_008426&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=fdcf4de8-96fd-4926-8b07-304ecf1fe8b3

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