FIRE has been drawing attention to Bucknell University’s shutdown of an "affirmative action bake sale" on its campus. Bucknell administrators have been claiming incorrectly that such a sale constitutes illegal discrimination and have stated that such controversial issues as affirmative action could not be discussed in the public areas of campus without Bucknell’s permission.
That was a couple of years ago, but Bucknell still refuses to acknowledge that such bake sales would be allowed on campus. Meanwhile, bake sales that criticize affirmative action policies, and other bake sales that criticize the gender wage gap, continue all over the country, making Bucknell’s position look dumber and dumber.
I’m not just talking about John Stossel’s "affirmative action bake sale," which he held in a New York mall and announced to a national audience on television.
I’m also talking about other universities with a more accurate view of free speech than Bucknell’s. These include no less of a place than the University of California at Berkeley, where the College Republicans offered different pricing by race and gender to illustrate their criticism of a bill related to affirmative action on the governor’s desk in California. While many students protested the sale—as was their right—the sale was allowed to continue without interference from Berkeley.
They also include Fordham University, which has scheduled a sale for this afternoon. This bake sale, organized by the Affirmative Action Senior Seminar, criticizes what it calls "real" affirmative action by offering different prices not only by gender and for "under-represented minorities," but also for "legacies," "recruited athletes," and "children of the very wealthy."
And they include the University of Georgia, where the Women’s Studies Student Organization recently held an "inequality bake sale" to criticize the difference in average wages between men and women in the United States.
None of these would be kosher at Bucknell, following the arguments of crack Bucknell attorney Wayne Bromfield. Or is Bucknell finally willing to admit that satirical bake sales like these are OK to have on campus even if they hurt somebody’s feelings?
FIRE is still waiting for Bucknell to join the rest of the nation on this issue.