Students bake up race debate

By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 15, 2004

College Republicans hold bake sale to protest affirmative action

College Republicans tried to cook up some controversy yesterday, holding a bake sale to protest affirmative action.

The group displayed a sign that said the sale would charge white males $1, blacks 50 cents and white females 75 cents.

The booth was set up to draw attention to the unfairness of affirmative action, said Pete Seat, president of the UA College Republicans.

"We wanted to send the message that affirmative action is discrimination towards all people, and we want it to be over and done with," Seat said.

The sign advertising the prices of the baked goods sparked a friendly argument between Jeremy Wells, a philosophy senior, and Shane Pulliam, a science education senior.

Pulliam said although he felt the College Republicans' method was ineffective, he doesn't believe in affirmative action.

"I think it's a joke; it's socialistic," he said.

Wells said he supports affirmative action.

"It's really not democratic, but it's payback time," he said.

Robin Carnagey, a communication senior, said she wasn't sure what the sign meant at first. But after walking up to the booth, she said the sign was effective.

"It draws people's attention. It makes its point," she said.

Members of the College Republicans also asked students to sign a petition against affirmative action.

Seat said the petition would be sent to state legislators to show students at the UA do not support affirmative action.

Seat said people were not actually expected to pay for the cookies being offered.

"They're free if you sign the petition. The prices were just a way to prove a point," he said.

Alex Wright, director of African American Student Affairs, said he felt the students had a right to express their opinions.

"It's nice to see social activism on campus," he said. "Maybe it will create some stimulating debate on both sides."

But Wright said he supports affirmative action because the playing field between white males and women and minorities is still not level.

"Granting modest advantages to minorities and women is completely appropriate, given centuries of discrimination against minorities and women," he said.

Seat said the UA chapter got the idea of a bake sale from other College Republican chapters that have successfully used the same method.

Seat said most of the people coming by the booth were supportive.

"Obviously, there's going to be a few people offended, but we're offended by affirmative action," he said. "We want people to get the message that it's wrong."

Kara Karlson, director of communications for the UA College Republicans, said this was the first year their chapter tried the bake sale, and she felt it was effective.

"There's been some healthy debate, but we've gotten lots of support," she said.