Colleges are no strangers to bake sales. They’re a popular way for students to collect money for a good cause and raise awareness about social issues—like the gender pay gap.
But the announcement of a “special” cake sale by a group of conservative students at Baylor University this week turned rather… sour!
In an email sent around on Tuesday and obtained by the Baylor Lariat, the Baylor chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas announced it would be holding an equal-rights bake sale on campus the following day. The announcement also explained that the goal of the sale was to illustrate the concept of equality through the pricing of baked goods.
“Essentially, we will have a sign with all the different skin colors, and yet everyone will be charged the same price,” the announcement read “Our focus will be demonstrating how affirmative action is at odds with equal rights.”
The organizers submitted an official request to hold the bake sale to the director of student activities, Matt Burchett, on Monday. But when someone posted a copy of the email on Facebook, it caused some students to freak out. Some of them criticized the bake sale for being “segregated”—although the event was open to all—and others denounced it as offensive, and an insult to the people of color.
To complicate things, the sale had yet to be officially approved when the YCT’s email went out.
The vice chairman of the YCT, Brittany Gamlen, told the Baylor Lariat that this type of bake sale had taken place at Baylor University before. Their goal was to collect funds for their organization while kickstarting a conversation about an issue important to their group—in this case, the idea that affirmative action is a form of discrimination at odds with the equal rights.
“Basically, we just want to promote the idea of equal rights, and so we believe that affirmative action privileges some people over others based on things such as race,” she said
“It is our belief that such preferential treatment has the potential to be detrimental to the development of a free and a colorblind society,” Gamlen said. “That concerns us because it is a form of discrimination.”
The bake sale went on almost as planned, as the most controversial elements of the event—namely the ‘skin colored’ cakes—were not authorized by the Student Activities office. That didn’t deter YCT members, who reportedly had “a lot of very good discussions.”