- The students implemented a tiered pricing system for people of different races and genders
- University official calls event "inflammatory and demeaning"
(CNN)A bake sale at the University of Texas this week didn't go down as planned.
Organized by the UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT), the "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" Wednesday sparked protests on campus and online, with a price list that charged Asian males $1.50 per baked good, followed by a slightly lower price for Asian females. Next were descending prices for whites, African-Americans and Hispanics, with Native Americans getting cookies for free.
The group said on its Facebook page it "believes that all government institutions are constitutionally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race in all circumstances, including affirmative action." The pricing was "intended to illustrate this disastrous policy that demeans minorities on our campus by placing labels of race and gender on their accomplishments," YCT said.
Protests on campus and online
The backlash was immediate. Hundreds came to protest the sale, and criticism also came online and from the university itself. UT Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Dr. Gregory J. Vincent called the group's methods "inflammatory and demeaning."
On the group's Facebook post about the sale, the reaction was mostly negative. "This is offensive, ignorant, ahistorical, inaccurate, and bigoted," wrote user Kei Sha.
"This must be why I always confused 'conservative' with 'fascist,'" commented Rachel Harvey.
Others supported the group's effort to demonstrate how affirmative action is unfair.
"As a Hispanic woman, I applaud this effort of exposing the truth. Affirmative action is racist and unfair," wrote Karina Crayton.
In a statement about the bake sale, the YCT explained its discontent over the Supreme Court overturning the 1996 ban on affirmative action in Texas in 2003.
"It is insane that institutional racism, such as affirmative action, continues to allow for universities to judge me by the color of my skin rather than my actions... YCT-UT will not be deterred by liberal elites that would love nothing more than to silence conservative, common sense voices on campus," the group's chairman, Vidal Castañeda, said.
In June, the Supreme Court upheld the UT Affirmative Action plan as a constitutional right.
"It is the University's ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policies," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.
President Barack Obama supported the decision, saying that recognizing diversity is an important step toward equality. "We are not a country that guarantees equal outcomes but we do strive to provide an equal shot to everybody. And that's what was upheld today," Obama said.