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Bake Sale Reignites Controversy at College of William and Mary
Dog Street Journal ^ | 11/14/03 | Nicole Schroeder

Posted on 11/14/2003 11:06:47 AM PST by maluka23

What started out as a bake sale now has the College community up in arms in a new debate on the ever-current issue of cultural diversity on campus. The controversy stems from the new student organization, the Sons of Liberty, and their anti-affirmative action bake sale that occurred last Saturday and sold cookies and brownies to students at different prices based on race. The issue has moved far beyond affirmative action, however, and is causing students to question how comfortable the College is for minority students.

“Absolutely the College cannot allow discriminatory practices to occur on this campus, period. And won’t,” Vice President of Student Affairs W. Samuel Sadler said, calling the action an assault on a community that prides itself on its openness and diversity.

“I am shocked and appalled at the callous and insensitive actions of the ‘Sons of Liberty,’” Student Assembly President Brian Cannon said in a statement. His sentiments echoed an SA Senate resolution passed Wednesday night condemning the action.

The Sons of Liberty are a new libertarian student organization, unaffiliated with any national organization, whose goal is to promote the ideas of the libertarian party and to focus on returning the government exclusively to its Constitutional roots.

“I’m opposed to affirmative action as are basically all Libertarians,” William Coggin, freshman and co-founder of Sons of Liberty, said, explaining that they find it discriminatory. The bake sale was an attempt to illustrate that discrimination.

“We had different prices based on your race,” Coggin said, “and it went progressively down for Asians, Blacks, Hispanics.”

The bake sale went on in the University Center lobby until about 3 p.m. when Administration officials showed up and asked the Sons of Liberty to sell all goods at a uniform price for everyone. Rather than give in, Coggin decided to leave, aware that their actions were in violation of College policy.

“You could call our policies discriminative, but the whole point was to show how affirmative action itself was racist,” Coggin said. “The point of the stand was obvious.”

Sadler said that the action was in blatant violation of Student Handbook section which states, “Each member of the College community has a right in his/her dealings with the institutions, and with members of the College community in the performance of their official duties, to be free from discriminatory treatment with regard to race, creed, gender, religion, national origin, or political belief.”

“I guess by the technical, legal definition we did discriminate,” Coggin said.

For now the exact consequences of their actions are to be determined, but they are scheduled to meet with Mark Constantine of Student Activities on Monday. The Sons of Liberty defend their action citing the first amendment provision of free speech, and Sophomore and co-founder Pat Reilly, in particular, was surprised by the outcome of the bake sale.

“I thought it was such a simple thing like a cookie, I didn’t think anyone would be offended by the price of a cookie,” Reilly said. “The point of the bake sale was just to raise awareness. It was not to offend anybody.”

Junior Colin Mubukwa, a minority student, got a very different impression that the Sons of Liberty were saying:

“You have to defend your right to be here and you have to prove to me that you had to work as hard as I did,” he said.

Overall, Coggin and Reilly felt that they were successful in raising awareness about affirmative action and their view that it is unfair and should be eliminated. According to Coggin, their booth received plenty of smiles and thumbs up from passers-by. At the same time, it sparked a debate that would be followed by a meeting on Tuesday that dozens of people attended to discuss affirmative action.

“That was excellent. There were a lot of good points made on both sides,” said Reilly. Coggin added that a lot of people, particularly minority students, showed up to oppose them.

Mukubwa attended the meeting, but felt differently, saying that the Sons of Liberty were unable to answer the request for a definition of affirmative action.

“The fact that they didn’t have any substance behind what they did was more offensive than the actual [bake sale],” Mukubwa said.

Mukubwa is currently concerned and disenchanted with the College and its relationship with minority students, so much so that he is hesitant to host minority prospective students this weekend.

“We can’t go out there with a good conscience and recruit students to come,” he said.

This worries the administration and many other students, who are concerned about the College’s ambiance as well as its national reputation.

“Do minority students feel welcome at the College?” Cannon said. “So far minority students have felt that this is a direct attack.” He emphasized the need for the entire campus community to stand with minority students to show the world that the College is not a racist institution.

Coggin expressed that people need not be concerned about the College’s reputation, stating that Sons of Liberty did not have the College’s endorsement to engage in their bake sale, and therefore their actions would not reflect on the College. While his colleague Reilly stated that he did not anticipate diversity at the College to be impeded by the repercussions of the bake sale, Coggin had a different view. He said that he came to the College with the express purpose to learn and study International Relations, adding that if he had wanted to learn about different cultures he could take classes about them.

“As to actual diversity I think it may have some value to some people more than others, but in terms of my personal interest… it isn’t at the top of my list,” Coggin said. “It should be an optional preference.”

The sentiments of the administration and the other students including the SA Senate and Cannon could be summed up by Mubukwa:

“Different perspectives… is what people can build on to discover new things, new ideas.”

(Excerpt) Read more at dogstreetjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: affirmativeaction; bakesale; campus; discrimination; freespeech; wandm; williamandmary
Any suggestions on how we can protect the free speech rights of these students?
1 posted on 11/14/2003 11:06:49 AM PST by maluka23
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To: maluka23
Keep the bake-sales going -- they make such a clear point that the PC liberals are upset. Anything that upsets the liberals.......
2 posted on 11/14/2003 11:13:33 AM PST by expatpat
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To: maluka23
“Each member of the College community has a right in his/her dealings with the institutions, and with members of the College community in the performance of their official duties, to be free from discriminatory treatment with regard to race, creed, gender, religion, national origin, or political belief.”

When it comes to affirmative action, I guess the University is saying "Do as I say, not as I do."

3 posted on 11/14/2003 11:26:49 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: maluka23
As an alumnus, '73, I know how.

$$$$$$ and a handwritten letter.

"what a field day for the heat"

In the '60s, dissenting views on campus were a great thing. Too bad the liberals are fascists now.
4 posted on 11/14/2003 11:31:00 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: expatpat
but with the VP of the college threatening punishment, who do we contact to prevent this?
5 posted on 11/14/2003 11:32:14 AM PST by maluka23
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To: maluka23
Anyone around there want to Freep 'em? I live too far away. But a good old sign about the "establishment" would be good.
6 posted on 11/14/2003 11:35:42 AM PST by TXBubba (aka TXBubbette)
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To: maluka23
Junior Colin Mubukwa, a minority student, got a very different impression that the Sons of Liberty were saying: “You have to defend your right to be here and you have to prove to me that you had to work as hard as I did,” he said.

Gee, do you think what he said will actually sink in? That's right Mr. Mubukwa, that is exactly what affirmative action does...it places doubts about the abilities of minorities to succeed on their own. That is why it must go.

7 posted on 11/14/2003 11:38:14 AM PST by TXBubba (aka TXBubbette)
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To: maluka23
I am amazed this college actually lists 'political belief' as something that can not be discriminated against. I am also amazed that some people are upset about these bake sales. One would think they would be happy to get the discount! Really though, I think the anger is a manifestation of denial when they realize the true meaning of AA.
8 posted on 11/14/2003 11:44:31 AM PST by bk1000 (listed on federal no tag line list.)
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To: maluka23
Regardless of what the school policy says, the 1st Amendment cannot be taken away. IF they continue to hold bakesales, act in a peaceful and non-threatening manner, the administration can squirm and whine all they like... But as long as they allow other groups to hold public activities on campus (Asian-American clubs, African-American clubs, etc.) which are exclusively designed- even in their name- to discriminate, then the campus administration is powerless.

By their very nature, such "diversity" clubs revolve around what you look like, not some common interest...

My suggestion- if you really want to get some attention- is the have a Caucasion-American club, and promote things like dances, parties, etc. While at UC Davis last year, we (the Davis College Republicans) even organized a trip to the local sportsmens' range. We had several members (myself included) who brought pistols of various types and calibers, and even a few who brought rifles. It was an all-day affair, we had firearms safety instruction before we started.... And we had a ball.

A quick side-note: one of the participants that day, was an active gun-control advocate, said how guns were evil, etc... (of course, he had never fired a gun before...) I loaned him my personal weapon, a professional-grade Kimber .40 caliber... He shot about $200 worth of ammunition that day, more than anyone else... And loved it. His attitude about guns change 180 degrees.;-)

My attitude is, "what's good for the goose, is good for the gander." If the University values it's "diversity," and actively pursues such a nonsensical idea, then that is the chink in their armor. And it's your best opportunity to exploit.

FReegards

9 posted on 11/14/2003 11:45:32 AM PST by Capitalist Eric
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To: Black Agnes; rmlew; cardinal4; LiteKeeper; Lizard_King; Sir_Ed; TLBSHOW; BigRedQuark; yendu bwam; ..
My alma mater! I'm stunned...

*****

Leftism on Campus ping!

If you would like to be added to the Leftism on Campus ping list, please
notify me via FReep-mail.

Warning: During the school year in particular, this can be a high volume ping list.

Regards...
10 posted on 11/14/2003 11:45:51 AM PST by Hobsonphile (Art should celebrate God's creation. Writers should love humanity in all its forms.)
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To: expatpat
Maybe they should do a reverse bake sale next and charge the minority students more and the whites less.

11 posted on 11/14/2003 11:48:26 AM PST by Chewbacca (I talk to myself because it is the only way I can have an intelligent conversation.)
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To: maluka23
I just love these bake sales. I wish we had thought them up when I was in college; they would have gone over really well at UW-Madison! Ah, to be young again.
12 posted on 11/14/2003 11:51:38 AM PST by kevao (Fuques France!)
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To: maluka23
but with the VP of the college threatening punishment, who do we contact to prevent this?

Check the Pacific Legal Center, for a free consultation. Their webpage is

http://www.pacificlegalcenter.com/

13 posted on 11/14/2003 11:54:20 AM PST by Capitalist Eric
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To: maluka23
Maybe they should have called it a "progressive bake sale". Just like our progressive holiday party here at a government agency.

The cost is $10.00 for employees, $20.00 for branch managers, and $30.00 for PD’s and deputies.

Translation: PD = Program Director

14 posted on 11/14/2003 12:08:10 PM PST by rllngrk33 (Liberals are guilty of everything they accuse Conservatives of.)
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To: maluka23
You might also want to look up FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)

http://www.thefire.org

15 posted on 11/14/2003 12:08:19 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Global warming=fresh picked Ohio bananas. Yummy!)
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To: maluka23
“Each member of the College community has a right in his/her dealings with the institutions, and with members of the College community in the performance of their official duties, to be free from discriminatory treatment with regard to race, creed, gender, religion, national origin, or political belief.”

Please explain how students acting against the administration in conducting this bake sale are in the "performance of their official duties" and thus subject to administration PC control?
16 posted on 11/14/2003 12:24:17 PM PST by nathanbedford
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To: Blueflag
You got that right! The liberals were the SDS back then!
17 posted on 11/14/2003 12:40:07 PM PST by buffyt (Howard Dean opens his mouth only to CHANGE FEET!)
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To: buffyt
I just love these bake sales! :-)
18 posted on 11/14/2003 12:43:58 PM PST by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: maluka23
Do I get my bake sale items for free since I don't indicate my ethnicity on any forms???
19 posted on 11/14/2003 1:50:39 PM PST by cyborg (solar flare proof tin foil hats are now available....)
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To: Chewbacca
Chewbacca said: "Maybe they should do a reverse bake sale next and charge the minority students more and the whites less. "

They should also open a separate stand to sell cookies based on "affirmative action" directed at particular signs of the zodiac. Charge one basic price but supply a discount to those who can show identification proving that they are Tauruses, for example. Allow as "proof" a note from one's mother. Supply paper and pens for the creation of such notes. Use the "Honor System" for judging the legitimacy of the notes.

20 posted on 11/14/2003 2:25:17 PM PST by William Tell
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To: maluka23
Thanks for the ping. I love affirmative action bake sales. May they grow and prosper throughout the land of academe.
21 posted on 11/14/2003 3:07:36 PM PST by shhrubbery!
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To: maluka23
"Absolutely the College cannot allow discriminatory practices to occur on this campus, period. And won’t,” Vice President of Student Affairs W. Samuel Sadler said

Great news! Looks like they've decided to cancel their affirmative action admisstion policies, which are dependent on discrimination!

22 posted on 11/14/2003 4:18:01 PM PST by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: Coop
Me too.


23 posted on 11/14/2003 8:57:04 PM PST by shetlan
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To: maluka23
Thanks for all the responses, we think we have the administration backpeddaling, but we're still kind of worried. Someone at a recent meeting questioned whether this is protected speech because of the money invloved. Does anyone know of any cases in the books that clearly protect things like this? It seems inherent to me that it is, I'm just wondering if there is precedent from any of the other bake sales done all over the country and I wouldn't want to have some crackpot judge ruling that it isn't.
24 posted on 11/18/2003 7:08:54 PM PST by maluka23
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To: maluka23
Alright here's yet another update on the situation....

We contacted a bunch of people and have heard back from a GOP representative in the VA house of delegates who offered to take the case for free as well as a law professor who offered the same. The Delegat (I'd rather not name him right now) sent a couple letters to the aforementioned VP Sam Sadler who had the quote about not tolerating policies that "discriminate". Sadler responded to the delegate and here's the basic summary of it-

-We lied in our account on several details.
1- We didn't mention that when the table was reserved it said the purpose was "bake sale".

Wow what a key issue, huh? I guess we should have written an essay about what we were doing and why we were doing it.

2- We lied in saying that the sale was "shut down" by administration.

We actually explained to the delegate that the prices were ordered to be changed because they were discriminatory. Of course changing the prices eliminates the entire point of the sale- to prove how affirmative action is discriminatory.

No action will be taken against those involved

I'm guessing they're going to try to intimidate us into not doing it again.

The college supports free speech but not when it discriminate

and not when we criticize your policies, huh?

We're already planning to do it again and this time we'll refuse to change our prices even if it means getting arrested, if that's what it takes to establish this as protected speech.

Now does anyone have tips on getting publicity, because we're going to want lots of it when we go ahead with this?
25 posted on 11/19/2003 6:28:27 PM PST by maluka23
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To: maluka23
I read about your bake sale, and I have a suggestion.

Actually sell the items for the same price. Have your sign up, at lists the descrimatory pricing to make your point, and then at the bottom in fine print, have something to the effect of that you believe in true equality and set the price as the same for everyone.

I think you still make the point, but reduce the options of those that wish to shut you down.

It's a thought anyway. Love the bake sales. Good luck with them!

Bill
26 posted on 12/18/2003 2:55:49 PM PST by Bill2003
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To: Bill2003
Here was a letter sent for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. President Timothy SUllivan's respone was particualry troubling.

An Open Letter to the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary
December 18, 2003

Dear Board of Visitors:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, freedom of religion, academic freedom, legal equality, due process, and—at the College of William & Mary—freedom of speech and expression on America's college campuses. Our website, www.thefire.org, will give you a greater sense of our identity and activities.

You may already be aware of the recent controversy involving the administration's censorship of an "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" held by the Sons of Liberty, a libertarian student organization at the College of William & Mary (W&M). You should also be aware of W&M President Timothy J. Sullivan's flippant and unprofessional treatment of the concerned Virginians and other citizens who have written to him to express their concerns about censorship at W&M.

On November 8, 2003, the Sons of Liberty held an "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" at the University Center. Affirmative action bake sales are satirical protests in which organizers display a menu with a mock pricing scheme, charging Latino and black students less than Asian or white students for the same items. The pricing scheme draws attention to what protest organizers believe is the inequality and discrimination inherent in affirmative action programs. The bake sales are intended only to spark campus debate about the implications of affirmative action policies—not to raise revenue. Similar bake sales have been held by feminist groups across the nation to protest what they view as wage inequalities between the sexes, charging men and women different prices for the same items to reflect the difference between their average salaries. Both of these types of events are fully protected expression and are representative of America 's rich tradition of political satire and creative protest.

While conducting the protest, Will Coggin, a freshman at W&M and one of the organizers of the bake sale, received a telephone call from Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Constantine, who asked him to halt the event. Constantine told The Flat Hat, a student newspaper at W&M, that although he told Coggin the bake sale could continue, he also "asked [Coggin] to stop selling the baked goods at different prices and remove the sign." Coggin recognized that agreeing to these restrictions would eliminate the entire point of the political protest, but he believed he had to either comply or face campus judicial action. Coggin therefore shut the sale down completely. W&M successfully silenced the protest's message.

E-mails obtained by FIRE show that Coggin's fears of facing judicial action if the protest had continued as originally intended were valid. In an e-mail sent on November 11, Constantine accused Coggin of "violating campus policy as stated in [W&M's] handbook," although he failed to state what policy had been violated. Ignoring Coggin's repeated requests to specify the offense, Constantine replied on November 17 that "Referring to the Student Handbook at this point in time is counterproductive." Subsequent e-mails to Vice President for Student Affairs W. Samuel Sadler also failed to produce a reason for the censorship.

While W&M administrators have repeatedly told Will Coggin and the Sons of Liberty that they will face no punishment for having held their protest, they have also repeatedly failed to name any policy that allowed them to censor political speech in the first place. Indeed, even if there were a policy at W&M that gave the college the discretion to shut down such a satirical protest, it would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Further, as you surely know, if administrators were permitted to squelch any views with which they disagreed, our nation's institutions of higher education would be dull and intellectually barren places.

This particular case of censorship took a very bizarre twist, however, when W&M's president, Timothy J. Sullivan, personally answered e-mails from people critical of W&M's handling of this case. FIRE has received what we fear are representative examples of his intemperate responses to individuals who wrote to express their displeasure with W&M's censorship. On Saturday, December 13, Curtis Crawford, a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, wrote President Sullivan an e-mail that, while polite, was critical of W&M's actions (you will find this e-mail exchange attached). President Sullivan responded:


Dear Mr. Crawford, Some fool has sent me an e-mail and signed your name to it. You should do what you can to discover the identity of the person. He or she is doing real harm to your reputation. I will help you if I can. Tim Sullivan

According to Mr. Crawford, he wrote back to President Sullivan asking if he stood by this comment, to which Sullivan responded, "You can quote me." Two days later, Sullivan sent a very similar e-mail to another person who had expressed criticism of W&M's handling of the protest; this time he asserted that, "Some damned fool is sending e-mail messages and signing your name. I will try to help you if I can." It is bewildering and deeply disappointing that any college administrator, let alone the president of one of America 's oldest and most respected institutions, would be so dismissive of reasoned debate, discussion, and criticism on issues as important as affirmative action and student censorship. Apparently, President Sullivan believes that he may both silence students and show outright contempt for citizens who believe in constitutional rights.

President Sullivan's e-mails, along with those of Mark Constantine and W. Samuel Sadler, fail to provide any logic or reasoning behind W&M's decision to censor the Sons of Liberty's political message. It is telling that, when asked directly about what policy the college could have used to justify its censorship, administrators invariably change the subject rather than simply answer the question. Free communities work when citizens invite and engage in debate and discussion; if President Sullivan sees no point in either debate or discussion, than we can see little reason why he would wish to be involved with the process of education at all.

FIRE will continue to pursue this matter until President Sullivan and the administration of the College of William & Mary decide to address the issue of censorship and to reaffirm constitutional rights on this great public campus. If the college has determined that it will silence certain political views, it should declare this openly and be willing to defend its position in the court of public opinion and, indeed, in the courts of law. We fervently hope that the College of William & Mary will soon determine that to censor the political beliefs of its students flies in the face of both the Bill of Rights and of America's traditional dedication to political liberty—a tradition of which the college has been a proud part since 1693.



Sincerely,

Greg Lukianoff
Director of Legal and Public Advocacy
27 posted on 01/21/2004 7:40:00 PM PST by WilliamAndMary
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