Responding to protests by Hispanic and Asian student groups, Dean of Students Sally Peterson shut down a bake sale that criticized affirmative action policies on Thursday, September 25. The bake sale, which the College Republicans at UCI held during the Welcome Week Club Carnival on Ring Road, charged higher prices for white customers.
The bake sale offered Krispy Krème donuts to students at different prices depending on their race or nationality. The prices ranged from $1.00 to $.10 for whites, Asians, Hispanics, blacks, and Native Americans, with the prices varying for each gender within those groups.
Peterson claimed that the bake sale violated the university’s anti-discrimination code which states, “the University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, [or] age…this nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities.”
According to Peterson, the bake sale falls under “activities” which are prohibited by the UC policy.
Peterson approached Bryan Zuetel, president of the College Republicans, and explained to him that the club was in violation of the nondiscrimination policy.
“First [she] told me this was discrimination and we weren’t allowed to charge different prices to different races, she then instructed us to take down the posters and remove the price list,” Zuetel said. “I said I was going to call my lawyer and get his opinion on whether or not we could have that price list in place in accordance with our free expression rights. He suggested that we change the prices to be suggested prices. The Dean of Students said we couldn’t even sell the donuts at suggested retail prices because it’s still discrimination.
“We talked, I told her my position, she told me hers, then we took down the signs with the prices,” said Zuetel.
Zuetel defended his club’s bake sale.
“The purpose of the affirmative action bake sale is to point out the racial classifications still in use by government institutions, such as universities,” he explained.
According to Zuetel, one of the main motivations behind the bake sale is the upcoming October 7 election, during which voters will be asked to vote on a controversial ballot measure known as the Racial Privacy Initiative. The measure, Proposition 54 would prohibit the state from “classifying any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment.”
Zuetel’s group supports the measure.
“This bake sale showed how certain minorities, i.e. blacks and Hispanics, are required to meet lower standards for university admittance and government jobs than Asians or whites,” Zuetel said.
The problems began when Mexican-American College Republican members were challenged for their alliance with the College Republicans by members of the Hispanic student organization MEChA, which stands for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán.
Eric Roig, the College Republicans’ fundraising director, and Francis Barraza, the club’s director of freshman outreach, were both harassed by students from MEChA. Barazza believes she was targeted because she is Mexican.
According to Barraza, there was one girl in particular who challenged her: “She was trying to appeal to me based on our common heritage…and was trying to say a lot of people like us don’t have the same opportunities as white people have.”
Barraza said that she was also told, “by saying no to 54 we can continue the programs that target Latinos.”
Barraza alleges that she was also called a “coconut,” a racial epithet which means “brown on the outside, white on the inside.”
In addition to MEChA, the Asian Pacific Students Association (APSA), the Latino Business Students Association, and the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon protested the bake sale. The leaders of MEChA and APSA refused to comment on this story.