Diversity bake sale brings out protestors, choppers, media

The media, both local and national, have jumped on the "diversity bake sale" story. Photo: Tracey Taylor

The helicopters flying over central Berkeley today were just one sign of the media frenzy that has surrounded the announcement by Cal College Republicans that they would hold an “Increase Diversity Bakesale,” to protest  a bill that permits consideration of race and economic status in university admissions.

Ward Connerly on Sproul Plaza. Photo: Matt Krupnick via Twitter

The arrival of Ward Connerly, the former UC Regent who backed Proposition 209, which banned  affirmative action in university admissions in 1996, was another sign that dozens of cameras were nearby.

Connerly jumped into the fray by selling some of the Republican student group’s selection of baked goods. Prices varied according to who bought them: $2 for a white student, $1.50 for Asian students, $1 for Latinos, 75 cents for African-Americans and 25 cents for Native Americans. Women of all races were promised a 25-cent discount.

Hundreds of affirmative action demonstrators, dressed in black, on Sproul Plaza Tuesday. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Cameras and notebooks were much in evidence on campus today. Photo: Tracey Taylor

As the Republicans set up shop at around 10:00am, a group of about 50 students at a phone bank made calls to Gov. Brown to express support for SB 185, the bill the College Republicans are mocking, according to the Daily Californian, which has been providing a blow-by-blow account of the proceedings since the student group announced it would hold the bake sale last week.

Everyone seemed to jump into the fray. John Stossel, a conservative journalist for Fox News, wrote a piece on why he supports the bake sale. The New York Times looked at the issue, as did CNN, Reuters, and numerous other media outlets.

By midday today, a crowd of affirmative action supporters , several hundred strong and dressed in black, were conducting a silent demonstration on Sproul Plaza — standing erect, fists raised, with placards that read “Don’t UC US”. At noon they all laid down on the ground.

At noon the affirmative action protestors lie on the ground in silence. Photo: Tracey Taylor

And the media were still out in force: several TV stations, including NBC Bay Area and KCBS News, dozens of reporters, notebooks in hand, and hundreds of cameras in hand snapping pictures. And the chopper still hovered overhead.

TV crew recording a segment on Bancroft Way. Photo: Tracey Taylor.

Several TV vans were on the scene to cover the bake sale furore. Photo: Tracey Taylor

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  • John Holland

    Wow, awesome near-real-time reporting. What a great counter-demonstration!

  • Anonymous

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  • Cal Alum

    I really hope people do not leave, hope they still their as long as possible and get as much support as they can a few strikers is nothing but this, this is amazing.  i wish i could be there but im half way around the world right now

  • Bruce Love

    I was checking the Daily Cal live blogging of the event and this caught my attention:

    UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri
    said that members of the Berkeley College Republicans do not reflect
    complete understanding of the issue in their bake sale. 
    “They’ve misread SB 185,” he said. “It would not overturn prop. 209.”

    I’m disappointed in the College Republicans because even this late into it, they have not expressed a coherent position that responds to the full to text of SB185 rather than to just a sentence or two taken out of context.

  • Anonymous

    Why are the counter-protesters lying on the ground? Having a symbolic die-in for an affirmative action protest doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  • Marc

    Great pictures, Tracey!

  • My concerns are slightly more prosaic. Specifically, are their cookies any good? Let’s face it, most people are poor bakers. Also, do they have the appropriate permits and training to be selling foodstuffs in public? Buying baked goods from undergraduates in suits is creepy enough even without having to pull off any stray hairs.

  • EBGuy

    For those who are curious, some of the relevant text from SB 185:(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the University ofCalifornia and the California State University, pursuant to Section66201.5, seek to enroll a student body that meets high academicstandards and reflects the cultural, racial, geographic, economic,and social diversity of California.(1) Pursuant to subdivision (b), the University of California may, and the California State University shall, consider race, gender, ethnicity,national origin, geographic origin, and household income, along withother relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions, solong as no preference is given.http://ca.opengovernment.org/system/bill_documents/001/221/053/original/sb_185_bill_20110404_amended_sen_v98.html?1310498301It did initially strike me as similar to:The goal of the new elementary student assignment plan is to integrateschools by utilizing (i) parent education level, (ii) parent incomelevel and (iii) race and ethnicity.I think one of the more interesting pieces of the SB 185 legislation is the geographic origin component. Let’s see,you’ve got a north zone, south zone and central valley zone…

  • Nick Mamatas

    The College Republicans started selling baked goods at 10am PT this
    morning. Their first customer was UC Berkeley Professor of Political
    Science Wendy Brown, who tried to buy all the baked goods but wasn’t

    “I thought the Republicans were free enterprise, but they won’t let me buy all the cupcakes,” Brown told the Daily Californian.


  • Bruce Love

    As an aside, the link you are using is not to SB185 as it was passed.  The bill changed between what you are reading and when it passed.

    For example, you quote (emphasis added):  the University of California may and the California State University shall, consider [the various factors].

    Here is what SB185 actually says:  the University of California may and the California State University may, consider [….].

    Try this one instead:


  • Definitely an interesting move on Prof. Brown’s part. I’m curious about how the DCR reacted to it and why they say they decided not to sell her the baked goods.
    But not selling her all their goods doesn’t really mean they aren’t against free enterprise.

    As a poster on the Daily Cal website pointed out:

    “In a free market, it is a business’s decision with whom to do business.
    Businesses can limit orders per customer. That is free enterprise.
    Perhaps if you understood the difference between businesses and
    customers making free, individual decisions, and the state telling them
    what to do, you’d comprehend how such an action is merely free
    enterprise at work.”

  • EBGuy

    Thanks for catching that Bruce.  The language ping-ponged from may to shall and back to may again in the final version.  Link to the CA government site:

  • Anonymous

    Man, the chopper was loud through most of one of my classes at Wurster today…

  • Orthomark

    Actually they have responded to SB185 by expressing a basic principal that no reasonable person could disagree with, namely, that race should be irrelevant to college admissions.  It’s as simple as that.  If you agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that the color of a man’s skin should be of no more significance than the color of his eyes, then you can’t disagree with that principle. 

    But then, liberals don’t really want equality.  They actually want a permanent social class of victims, and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that those victims never graduate to normalcy in society.    Affirmative action is a great example of this pathological psychology, where in the name of equality liberals set up a system of blatant institutionalized inequality.  This is what the Left calls fairness. 

    But don’t you dare criticize or question it!  Because if you do, you’ll be subject to all the social and political violence that can be mustered against you.  You’ll be slandered, harassed, and threatened.  And if that doesn’t deter you from all your insolent questioning of the dear leaders at the Politburo, then you’ll be subject to legal sanction and banishment from “enlightened” society.  Double plus good brother.

  • Openyoureyes

    SB 185 stinks!  It’s racist … can’t you see?  Those who vote for it are the ones who feel they are entitled to admission to UC because of their color and not because of their abilities.  SB 185 only lowers UC’s standard of education. 

  • Algots

    Go Republicans. Showing absurdity by being absurd.  Since, they wouldn’t listen to your words, make them listen by your actions.

  • Nick Mamatas

    Yes, I’m totally sure that professor can’t tell the difference between voluntary actions and state planning, just like some random commenter on a newspaper website suggested.

  • laura

    From the Daily Cal.”While water bottles and sunscreen were in ample supply for
    demonstrators lying in protest on Sproul Plaza, due to heat, the event
    came to an end an hour earlier than planned. The demonstrators stood up
    together at 1 p.m., huddled around demonstration leader Salih Muhammad
    in the middle of Sproul Plaza and engaged in a call and response with
    Muhammad, repeating the slogans he yelled.

    “It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to
    win! We must love and protect each other! We have nothing to lose but
    our chains!” the protesters  shouted in unison.”

    Salih Muhammad is a proud member of the racist national organization Nation of Islam
    which explains the choreography of the counter protest by the “coalition” comprised of the
    usual suspects, BAMN

  • laura
  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe people found the time to care. It was a STUDENT republican bake sale.
    Really, W.G.a.S.?

  • So why would she make the comment about free enterprise when it clearly doesn’t apply?

    Think first. Then comment.

  • Wendy Brown: Can I buy all of them?
    Ward Connerly: Uh…
    Wendy Brown: They won’t let me buy all of them!!

    From the video it looks like she decided that they weren’t going to sell them to her before they even had a chance to respond.

  • According to the Daily Cal:

    At around 1:30 p.m. Yvette Felarca, the national organizer for BAMN,
    invited the campus Republicans to debate affirmative action. She said
    BAMN would argue the “criminality” of the Republicans group’s ideology.

    BAMN also supports the “Irvine 11” who are a group of Muslim students who think that they have the right to silence the free speech of others by screaming down anyone they disagree with.

    I don’t know much about the group, but BAMN seems to oppose the free speech rights of anyone they disagree with, which is patently un-American.

  • Mike Farrell

    At least they didn’t go on a shopping spree.

  • Thanks Marc!

  • Nick Mamatas

    The transparently obvious reason was that she was being sarcastic.

    Her comment doesn’t apply in the same way that lower prices for cupcakes for Asians don’t apply to Affirmative Action at Cal.

    “Think first. Then comment.” Great advice—I look forward to the day you actually follow it.

  • Nick Mamatas

    Because inviting a group to a debate is just like opposing their right to free speech.

    Think first. Then comment. 

  • EBGuy

    Sharkey, the East Bay Express did a nice expose on BAMN number of years back.  See

  • Guest

    Yvette is also like a 15th year grad student.  I really don’t understand why UC Berkeley doesn’t tell her to either write her dissertation or drop out.  Think about how much state money has gone into funding her never-ending education.

  • No, Nick.

    Suggesting that someone’s opinion is “criminal” and supporting individuals who conspire to shout down and disrupt any speech they disagree with is just like opposing their right to free speech.

  • Thanks for the link! I’ll be sure to check it out.

  • Did you ask her if she was being sarcastic, Nick, or are you just making that assumption?

    When she asked the BCR if she could buy all their cupcakes and then turned to the camera and whined that they wouldn’t let her before they even responded it seemed more like she was engaging in political grandstanding than trying to be sarcastic.

    Wendy Brown: Can I buy all of them?
    Ward Connerly: Uh…
    Wendy Brown: [turns to camera] They won’t let me buy all of them!!

  • Heather W.

    Whatever the reasons they put on this ridiculous show, it is too bad anyone gave it the attention it got. National news coverage, for one. 

  • libraterian

    The Christian Science Monitor article cited in Berkeleyside’s header today asks the question: “Did Berkeley’s ‘racist’ bake sale go too far?”

    As they stopped short of offering to pay five bucks to multiple combos of recognized minorities, I think they showed restraint.

  • laura


    especially funny when Ward Connerly explains to political science prof Wendy Brown
    there are no Scandinavian cupcakes either, and Wendy responds
    frustratedly “what kind of cupcakes are there?” Ward calmly responds “generic”

    Only those limited to their myopic perspective cannot see the humor and truth in the bake sale satire.

  • libraterian

    …picture above of kids laying down: “Sprawl Plaza”