Students at UC Berkeley have been engaged in an ongoing debate and protest this week after a GOP campus group organized an anti-affirmative action bake sale on Tuesday. The group sold baked goods that were priced according to the race and gender of their costumers. The bake sale was designed to protest the California Senate Bill 185, which authorizes state universities to consider race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, along with other relevant factors for undergraduate admissions. The bill passed the state Legislature and must be signed by Governor Jerry Brown (D) by October 9.
In opposition to the bake sale, 200 students from a new campus organization called the Coalition gathered in silent protest, while dressed in all black. Ruben Canedo, a member of the group said that the protest was not only a response to the bake sale, “but to larger, systemic problems in the UC system.” Others protesting the bake sale held a counter-bake sale of their own, offering free baked goods.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the number of minority students at UC Berkeley has decreased since California enacted Proposition 209, a ban on race preferences in government programs, in 1996. Underrepresented minority students, including Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans, represent 16 percent of students, down from 20 percent in 1995 before Prop. 209 became law. The number of white students at the university has remained steady, representing 30 percent of the student population, while Chinese-American students have grown slightly from 19 to 20 percent.