The Revival of the Affirmative Action Bake Sale

Affirmative action bake sales have been staged by conservative student groups on dozens of college and university campuses over the past several years. Typically the student group sets up a table in a public place and offers cookies and brownies for sale to passersby. Mischievously, there will be different price lists depending on race. At one event, cookies were $1 for white students, 95 cents for Asian students, 50 cents for Hispanics, and 35 cents for African Americans. Through this demonstration, the conservative students have established an effective analogy that expresses their views of the unfairness of racial preferences in college admission practices.

The latest incident occurred at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, a campus where blacks make up 3 percent of the student body. The Bucknell administration shut down the bake sale. A university official claimed that the issue was not one of free speech but, rather, one of “campus safety and fairness.”

In a second incident, conservative students at Bucknell handed out fliers to students as they entered or left the school’s dining facility. The fliers, which resembled U.S. currency, showed a picture of President Obama on one side with the headline, “The Socialist State of America.” On the reverse side were the words, “Obama’s stimulus plan makes your money as worthless as Monopoly money.”

When it became aware of this leafletting operation, Bucknell administration told the students to cease and desist the activity, claiming the students needed prior permission from the university.

The administration’s actions regarding the conservative students’ protests produced more than 100 complaints from alumni charging that the university was violating the students’ right to free speech.

The Conservative Club at Bucknell has vowed to stage similar events this coming fall.