UT Republicans Defend Affirmative Action Bakesale, Denounce Charges of Bigotry

Oct 4, 2013 by

Jennifer Kabbany –

Young Conservatives of Texas on Thursday defended their recent affirmative action bake sale at the University of Texas in a strongly worded statement that denounced a campus official for alleging they were insensitive and insinuating their protest had racial undertones.

A spokeswoman for the group, UT senior Cody Jo Bankhead, also said in an interview with The College Fix that despite being called names and “an embarrassment to the university” by some students and alumni because of the bake sale, they are confident in their position and unswayed by name calling.

“We are not intimidated in the slightest,” she said. “We are still firm in what we believe.”

The crux of the bake sale controversy is the Young Conservatives of Texas-Austin’s pricing sign that listed the brownies and cookies as follows: “$2 white,” “$1.50 Asians,” “$1 Latino,” “75 cents Black,” and “.25 cents Native American.” On the side of the sign it read: “25 cents off for all women.”

Although emails of support have come to the group, it has also been attacked on Twitter, Facebook, and in various campus newspaper editorials nationwide, Bankhead said.

“We have a lot of support, I think just it’s kind of hard sometimes to appreciate the people that are supporting us when you have so much negativity also coming in,” she said. “Our goal was to start a conversation about the issue at hand. What ended up getting talked about the most was that we are racist and attention whores.”

The controversy continues to escalate. Bankhead has been interviewed by several national news outlets in the last few days.

“Things have not really calmed down,” she said. “We are still getting a lot of backlash from liberal organizations and the newspaper on campus, as well as in Texas newspapers and across the nation in general.”

One of the first negative responses came from Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, who had stated on the school’s website ”such methods are inflammatory and demeaning … focusing our attention on the provocative nature of the YCT’s actions ignores a much more important issue: they create an environment of exclusion and disrespect among our students, faculty and staff.”

“The choice of a tiered pricing structure creates the misperception that some students either do not belong at the university or do not deserve to have access to our institution—or worse, that they belong or deserve only to a certain degree.”

The Young Conservatives, in their response, called those accusations ”salacious” and “defamatory,” as well as meritless.

“Our bake sale was meant to, through caricature, spark an educated conversation about the affirmative action policies that the University practices, although Dr. Vincent suggests the intent was ‘to create an environment of exclusion and disrespect,’ ” the young conservatives said.

The way they put it, the members of the campus group “sought to acknowledge four points about affirmative action through the bake sale: it may be demeaning to minorities to say that they need affirmative action to succeed; a society cannot be truly color-blind until they stop making decisions based on race; affirmative action further encourages discrimination; and because of affirmative action, a minority may beat out someone more qualified for schooling or a job simply because of race or gender.”

They added “voicing conservative values on a campus dominated by liberals is sure to attract attention. Our biggest hope in holding the bake sale was to spark an educated discussion of the subject at hand—affirmative action.”

Bankhead said the bake sale, held last week, went smoothly, with several students giving them high-fives and donations. Two students stopped to voice concerns, but the conversations were calm, civil and educated, she said.

“We weren’t yelling or being disrespectful in any way, and that is what bothered us the most about what Dr. Vincent said,” she said. “He painted this picture that we were screaming profanities and were over the top.”

via UT Republicans Defend Affirmative Action Bakesale, Denounce Charges of Bigotry.

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