Regis University student claims that the university shut down his satirical “social justice bake sale” because it violated university’s policy and broke federal law.
In March, Alexander Beck was hosting a “social justice bake sale” in response to “Social Justice Week” on campus, when a university administrator approached his stand and said that he could not continue tabling on campus. Beck says that his sale was “shut down” despite the fact that he received a campus permit. He was told that his event—a sale of baked goods that were priced differently depending on students’ gender, race, or religion—was called a “demonstration” and needed additional permit. The university later said that Beck’s sale was a “crystal clear violation of federal law”.
Beck allegedly wanted to raise money for Milo Yiannopoulos “Privilege Grant”—scholarship for white men—when his event was cut short after only an hour. He says his satirical stand was meant to invite students to discuss the prices if they had a problem with them, and argues that the notion he violated federal law is preposterous.
— Alex Beck (@realAlexBeck) March 16, 2017
The university released a statement to Denver’s ABC affiliate regarding the bake sale: “Regis University welcomes and encourages diverse viewpoints on campus,” it said. “However, the bake sale you referenced violated university policy and federal law by selling items at different prices based on race and gender.”
While according to collegefix, a Catholic school still didn’t specify what specific federal law Beck violated, it did manage to hold an open forum in response to the bake sale “for students who felt marginalized, attacked or unsafe”.
— Alex Beck (@realAlexBeck) April 4, 2017
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote a letter to the university on Beck’s behalf saying the bake sale is “a common method of protest” seen at universities across the country and that it was a satirical response to Regis’ “Social Justice” week. It condemned university’s claims that the student somehow broke a federal law by expressing his opinion.
“Protests that rely on satire—such as Beck’s ‘Social Justice’ bake sale and feminist ‘wage gap’ bake sales, both of which utilize proposed transactions to highlight perceived flaws in society or policy—exist to challenge, provoke, and, indeed, often offend,” and they are explicitly protected by Supreme Court precedent, McLaughlin wrote.