Saturday, September 24, 2011

UC-Berkeley Bake Sale Controversy

Racially heated posting sparks UC Berkeley outrage

Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 24, 2011

A Facebook post announcing plans by a UC Berkeley Republican group to sell baked goods priced according to race, gender and ethnicity - "White/Caucasian" pastries for $2 and "Black/African American" pastries for 75 cents, for example - has drawn outrage on campus…
The campus Republicans, who expect to go forward with their "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" on Tuesday, say the event is meant to mock an effort by the student government to drum up support for SB185, a bill to let the University of California and the California State University consider ethnicity in student admissions. It's awaiting approval or veto by Gov. Jerry Brown. "Our bake sale will be at the same time and location of a phone bank which will be making calls to urge Gov. Brown to sign the bill," posted six students who created the Facebook page. The purpose "is to offer another view to this policy of considering race in university admissions. The pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical."…

The article above does not go into the background of the bill – SB185 – which seems to have sparked this episode. Voters passed Prop 209 in 1996 which bans affirmative action in public university admissions. On the face of it, SB185 seems in potential conflict with Prop 209. News accounts indicate that Ward Connerly, the former UC regent who sponsored Prop 209, threatened to sue if SB185 was enacted and implemented. (Any legal types who read this blog are welcome to comment on that issue.)

I have found an Academic Senate document dated March 15, 2011 which recommends that UC remain neutral about SB185:

The document makes brief mention of Prop 209 but points to other steps UC has adopted since Prop 209 was approved by voters. It suggests that UC might work with the author of SB185 to improve the bill in some way. Whether there were such interactions and whether the bill was modified since that time as a result, I do not know.

Below is the official summary of the bill. Note that the legislative history provided indicates amendments were made along the way, although these may not have been as a result of any UC consultations. The full text of the bill is at


INTRODUCED BY Senator Hernandez (Coauthor: Assembly Member Lara) FEBRUARY 7, 2011

An act to amend Section 66205 of the Education Code, relating to public postsecondary education.

SB 185, Hernandez. Public postsecondary education.
Existing law, the Donahoe Higher Education Act, sets forth, among other things, the missions and functions of California's public and independent segments of higher education, and their respective institutions of higher education. Existing law establishes the University of California, under the administration of the Regents of the University of California, and the California State University, under the administration of the Trustees of the California State University, as 2 of the public segments of postsecondary education.

Provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act apply to the University of California only to the extent that the regents act, by resolution, to make these provisions applicable. A provision of the act expresses legislative intent with respect to the determination of standards and criteria for admission to the University of California and the California State University.

This bill would authorize the University of California and the California State University to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions, to the maximum extent permitted by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution, and relevant case law.

The bill would require the trustees, and request the regents, to report in writing to the Legislature and the Governor by November 1, 2013, on the implementation of the bill. The bill would require these reports to include information relative to the number of students admitted, disaggregated by race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, geographic origin, and household income, and compared to the prior 2 years of admissions.

It is not known whether Gov. Brown will sign the bill. He has been critical of the legislature passing too many bills in recent days.
For those interested in the earlier history: Prop 209 was preceded by passage by the Regents of a ban on affirmative action. Once the Regents had passed the new rule, there was a campaign for the statewide Prop 209 which encompassed more than just UC and more than just student admissions. A news report on the original regents’ action can be found below:

UPDATE on the bake sale:

Further update: The Berkeley student newspaper produced a blog of events surrounding the bake sale:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

UC Berkeley Chancellor displaces qualified for public education at Cal Californians with individuals that pay $50,600 and have a Foreign passport.

Californians are second class applicants at Cal