by Lita Gaithers |Staff Writer|
Despite student demonstrations, on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, UC Berkeley Republican students held a bake sale based on race and gender with prices ranging from $2 for Whites, $1.50 for Asians, $1 for Latinos, 75 cents for African Americans, to a quarter for Native Americans. Women were given a discount of 25 percent.
The UC Berkeley Republicans’ bake sale was in response to another campus organization’s event in support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s California SB-185, that would allow UC and CSU colleges to consider race, ethnicity and gender as an admission factor.
According to a CNN story, other college campuses such as UC Irvine, Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, and SMU in Texas were scheduled to hold bake sale, but decided to cancel due to the controversy and protests.
CSUSB students of religious organizations were asked if they would support a bake sale on campus in opposition of SB 185.
“I would support it in the sense that people have every right to voice their opinions as long as they do not suppress the ability of others to voice their opinions,” said Andrew Farison, a Christian student.
However, another student stated, “No, I personally would not. If these students wanted to protest the bill then so be it, but enacting the same thing by which they protest is hypocritical no matter how much it may prove their point,” said Steve Khatib, a Muslim student.
“It’s not the best way to prove a point, and an event like that on campus may cause bad feelings among the student body,” said Maria Torres, who was a June 2011 graduate, and a Christian Bible study leader on campus.
The legality of the bill is in question because in 1996, Proposition 209 passed by Californians in support of forbidding ethnicity from being a factor in UC and CSU college entrance decisions.
According to the LA Times, “In a legal brief filed recently in support of a federal lawsuit seeking to deem the initiative unconstitutional, Brown cited a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found race could be considered in admissions if it did not involve quotas or predetermined weight in decisions.”
The response of CSUSB students of faith when asked if diversity was important to obtaining a good education, “Diversity is essential to knowledge. One must learn about the world around themselves before they can ever start applying the knowledge they’ve obtained to the world around themselves. In the Qu’ran there is a verse that goes along the lines of, ‘We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another.’ To me, this means diversity and knowledge correlate,” said Khatib.
“I believe a better question is ‘does a diverse campus create a better learning environment?’ The answer is yes. You gain more cultural viewpoints and have a greater range of ideas to defend against and hone what you know is true,” said Farison.
According to the LA Times a spokesman for UC President Mark Yudof, who created an advisory council last year to respond to campus incidents that proved offensive or intimidating to minority students, said Monday that Berkeley was handling the controversy “just the way we’d like it to be handled. They listened and turned it into a teaching moment.”