An "affirmative action bake sale" protest planned by the Berkeley College Republicans for tomorrow has caused an uproar at the University of California’s flagship campus. Affirmative action bake sales, for those who don’t know, are a widely used form of satirical protest against affirmative action (as viewed by the organizers). Organizers display a satirical bake sale price list in which, for example, black and Hispanic students are to be charged lower prices than Asian and white students for the same items. These events are intended to spark debate and awareness about affirmative action policies, not to raise revenue.
Thankfully, Berkeley has a great advocate for free expression in the person of student and former FIRE intern Casey Given. In an opinion column for the Berkeley student newspaper The Daily Californian, Casey brings the message of free speech to students who need to hear it:
However, just as I defend their opponents’ right to voice their dissent, so too do I stand up for the College Republicans’ right to express their contentious message – all in the name of free speech that Berkeley so strongly claims to cherish. Having completed their paperwork properly, the campus has no right to shut down the event under the First Amendment. Furthermore, considering a strong legal precedent, the ASUC has no right to defund the student group because of the content of their viewpoint. Anyone who says otherwise runs contrary to the morality of freedom, the legal power of the First Amendment and the principles of the Free Speech Movement.
Indeed, Berkeley is at a crossroads between a glorified past and hypocritical future, a choice between upholding the principles of free speech we so adore or abandoning them to the tyranny of the majority.
The entire article is well worth a read. Thanks so much to Casey for excellently and soberly explaining the principles of liberty in the midst of a campus controversy. FIRE will follow the news on the College Republicans’ protest and keep you up to date here on The Torch.