Cal Berkeley Democrats: Official Response to Berkeley College Republicans’ “Increase Diversity Bake Sale”
While we affirm that every student has the right to free speech at UC Berkeley, the tactics the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) used in their demonstration against the EAVP-sponsored phonebank in support of SB 185 were offensive and misguided. These tactics violated the ideals of respectful political dialogue that many students on this campus, including members of the Cal Berkeley Democrats, respect and value. They did little to forward a productive discussion and debate about SB 185.
A complex policy issue like higher education admissions cannot be reduced to a simplistic metaphor like prices for baked goods, or other forms of crude satire, and doing so trivializes the experiences of students from all backgrounds. SB 185 would allow students from a variety of backgrounds to succeed on UC and CSU campuses without creating an unfair advantage for underrepresented students.
We believe race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background are all relevant factors that should be considered in college admissions. Since Proposition 209 was passed in 1996 banning affirmative action in California’s public universities, UC Berkeley and its student body has suffered from decreased representation of students of color. To mitigate these effects, SB 185 would allow admissions officers at UCs and CSUs to create campuses that acknowledge difference and diversity and to foster a more complete learning environment. Therefore, we firmly endorse SB 185 and urge Governor Brown to sign it immediately.
The Cal Berkeley Democrats and Berkeley College Republicans have striven to maintain a sense of mutual respect and civil opposition. Moving forward, we ask that the larger campus community agree to promote a more respectful exchange of ideas. Although the bake sale itself has passed, many students remain hurt and distressed by the tactics employed during this event. It is imperative to close the historical wounds that have been reopened by this incident and to recreate the civil atmosphere of dialogue that all students cherish and uphold.