Center for Ethics and Leadership

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Conservative Student Organization Protests at Bucknell

Last April, the Bucknell University Conservatives Club, an undergraduate organization, wanted to have an affirmative action bake sale on campus. Persons of color would have to pay less for the food. The bake sale was intended to promote the appearance of Star Parker, a well-known African-American conservative who opposes affirmative action. Bucknell administration called it discriminatory and refused permission, thereby generating the predictable claims of victimization by the students, who argue that it is a matter of free speech. Conservative groups continue to keep the issue alive, and it finally hit the Philadelphia Inquirer today.

There is a difference between speech and action, and a bake sale is action. There was no interference in Ms. Parker's appearance. The club also has its own faculty moderator, a member of the management faculty. In addition, the club has a good publication, The Counterweight, whose tagline is, "The Other Half of Your 'Balanced' Education."

Of course, there are actions and there are actions. The administration must make a judgment call about the potential disruptiveness of any student action, and the Bucknell administration decided against the sale. Other colleges across the nation have had such sales.

I suppose there would be nothing the club could say if, for example, the Bucknell Caucus For Economic Justice sponsored a White Privilege Bake Sale. White males could buy large vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing for practically nothing; white females could also buy vanilla cupcakes, but not as large as the others. African-American students would get small chocolate cupcakes rather expensively, and Hispanic students would have to show two forms of government-issued identification to participate.

If the tables were set opposite each other in the cafeteria, maybe Bucknell would get more than a food fight.

1 Comments:

  • I don't read the inquirer so the story is news to me. Despite the Honorable Clarence Thomas' claim, a fair number of individuals from marginalized populations have benefited from affirmative action. I am always amazed when it is the privileged that complain (white, college attending, conservatives) - perhaps they should exercise their free speech option outside of their local Wal*mart. I would imagine that they would get more than a food fight, and I would imagine that the university service staff exercising their economic might would not be amused.

    By Blogger kobe2, At June 23, 2009 5:19 PM  

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