Affirmative action bake sale fuels debate

The Campus Republicans sold baked goods at different prices.

The Campus Republicans stirred controversy while selling homemade Rice Krispie bars and brownies Monday afternoon at their affirmative action bake sale in Coffman Union.

The prices for the baked goods ranged from $1.50 for white and Asian males to 75 cents for black and Hispanic females.

“This setup reflects what the ‘U’ is doing,” said Isaac Erickson, a history senior who helped organize the event. “We believe everybody should be treated equally. We should not give any special preference based on race.”

The bake sale was inspired by similar events at the University of Michigan and UCLA. The prices listed were “suggested donations,” with proceeds going to the United Negro College Fund.

“We think this is really silly – it’s absurd,” Erickson said. “That’s the comparison we’re making. We think affirmative action is absurd.”

Vocal opponents of the group’s message surrounded the table to share their feelings on affirmative action. After Erickson suggested that the University should be colorblind, Ada Okolue turned around and laughed loudly.

“I see myself as a black woman, and I’m proud to be a black woman,” said Okolue, a strategic communication junior.

Ola Betiku, a black biochemistry senior, said his low test scores probably would have prevented him from getting into the University without affirmative action. Without the programs, he said, the University would be less racially diverse.

“Everyone wants equality, but people don’t know how to make that happen,” Betiku said. “I think affirmative action is necessary because it promotes diversity and levels the playing field.”

Some students who had not benefited from affirmative action also spoke in support of the system.

“Is it fair to charge Bill Gates a little more for a piece of bread?” asked David Batulis, a psychology senior. “I’m white and I’m willing to pay a little bit more.”

Campus Republicans said they were happy the sale incited debate.

“I think that the minorities that come here are very ambitious, and I don’t think they need any extra help,” Erickson said.

Patricia Drey welcomes comments at

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