U. Washington "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" Shut Down for "Safety" Concerns · 12 October 2003

by Jason Chambers

On Wednesday, October 7th the College Republicans at the University of Washington held an Affirmative Action Bake Sale. We priced cookies differently for people, depending on their race. A black student could have bought a cookie for $0.30, while a white student had to pay $1.00 for the same cookie, and so on. The categories we used were the same used by the University of Washington in its admissions application. The point of holding the bake sale was to demonstrate that affirmative action, because it judges people bases solely on skin color, is inherently racist.

We succeeded in creating a discussion on campus, as word spread about what we were doing. Students found our booth and a dialogue was started. For a few hours, we had civil but heated discussions of affirmative action policies that were very constructive. We had well over one hundred students gathered to voice their opinions on affirmative action policies, and literally dozens of conversations, some quite calm, some a little heated, but all civil, were going on.

Approximately 150 students were gathered around our booth discussing the issue by about 12:30 when our booth was attacked by leftist students who disagreed with our stance on affirmative action. A few minutes before the booth was attacked, we were warned by a few students that we had just ten minutes to shut down our booth "or else." We declined to heed their ultimatum. These students, two of them, had recently shown up to the table and had taken no time to discuss our event or our opinion on affirmative action with us. They made no attempt to join into the constructive dialogue our event had created. They tore down our signs, threw our baked goods and literature off the table to the ground, and attempted to tear down our tent. One CR attempted to salvage a few boxes of cookies from the table before they were taken, but before he got to the box it was taken by one of the obstacles to free speech and thrown at him, striking him in the head.

Fortunately, a college republican had called the police a few minutes prior to the attacks because a few conversations were becoming heated and he had concerns that the left may have incited violence. Unfortunately, rather than step in and arrest our attackers, the police stood by while the University said we, the peaceful ones, had to shut down because WE were creating an unsafe environment. I explained that the attackers, not the college republicans, were inciting violence while we simply tried to get a dialogue started-a task we were successful at before the two misfits interrupted. Our protests that the CRs were peacefully demonstrating while the leftists got violent fell upon deaf ears, and we were forced to close shop.

However, we will continue the fight. We are protesting the fact that we were shut down, and will do whatever we can here on campus to rectify the situation and make certain reoccurrences do not happen. The College Republicans look forward to a successful year and many more events aimed at getting our views out in the open and continuing to push for a dialogue concerning the issues that face campus and America today.

Jason Chambers is the President of the College Republicans at the University of Washington. He can be reached at pres@uwcr.net and the UWCR website can be viewed at www.uwcr.net.