Diversity bake sale held in response to YCT event

Will Clark

Students held a bake sale for all genders and races Friday on the West Mall as a response to the Young Conservatives of Texas event two weeks ago which protested the University’s affirmative action policy.

The Diversity and Inclusion Agency, a division of Student Government, held the event where organizers provided a free cookie or brownie after passersby wrote what diversity meant to them on a poster board.

On Oct. 26, YCT hosted an “affirmative action bake sale” that received national media coverage for its representation of affirmative action. The group determined prices for their baked goods based on ethnicity and gender to protest how the policy considers race in its admission process. 

Agency Director Karla Chavez, an international relations and global studies junior, offered baked goods and fliers with information about the University and its affirmative action policy.

“By doing this bake sale, we are kind of approaching it the right way by providing information about what the demographics are of UT and what affirmative action really is and who it protects,” Chavez said.

YCT Communications Director Allison Peregory said this new bake sale only furthered a misunderstanding of her organization’s argument.

“Minorities belong on UT Austin’s campus, but no application should receive preferential treatment in admissions based upon the candidate’s race, ethnicity or gender,” Peregory said in a text message. “Allowing affirmative action to exist at our universities only perpetuates institutional discrimination.”

Undeclared sophomore Kasin Kabbara is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Agency and volunteered for the event. Kabbara said he saw the YCT bake sale and wanted to inform people about diversity.

“It was just chaos at the YCT bake sale,” Kabbarra said. “What we’re doing here is we’re actually trying to inform people. What they were doing was not informative. It wasn’t helping.”

Chavez said people were surprised to hear the items at the bake sale were free, and as the cookies and brownies disappeared, the poster board filled up with messages.

“Strength,” “Understanding” and “Unconditional Love” were a few of the multicolored words covering the board. Chavez said one student expressed a slightly different message when he wrote, “Tolerance of the other.”

“It should be more acceptance,” Chavez said. “I have nothing against ‘tolerating’ others. I think that’s the first step to actually making progress and fully accepting people.”

Chavez said hearing a wide range of voices is exactly why the agency organized this event.

“I definitely think that we should have an open debate,” Chavez said. “We’re just trying to get different opinions and just trying to see where everyone stands, but for the most part, people try to stick to the whole unity thing.”

The bake sale continued without disruption or protest, but Chavez said her agency was prepared for resistance.

“We were bracing ourselves for some type of opposition, but it didn’t happen,” Chavez said. “We didn’t think there was really a platform for there to be any type of opposition.”