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Bake sale stirs debate on affirmative action

Many at IU criticize event featuring  sliding price scale for cookies based on race, gender.

By Tim Evans



November 6, 2003


It sold just three cookies, but a unique bake sale Wednesday at Indiana University turned up the heat in an ongoing debate about affirmative action.

Modeled after similar events on campuses across the country, the sale offered cookies at different prices based on customers' race and gender. White males were charged $1; white females, Asians and Pacific Islanders, 75 cents; American Indians and Hispanics, 50 cents; and blacks, 25 cents.

The sliding scale was designed to highlight the unfairness of affirmative action policies, said Stephan Jerabek of The Committee for Freedom, a student activist group that conducted the sale in Dunn Meadow.

Though sales were slow -- all three cookies sold were of the $1 variety -- Jerabek said the event set the stage for ongoing discussions about affirmative action.

"Our message was at least heard," said Jerabek, 19, a sophomore from Huntington.

"We weren't trying to be racist. We just believe that everybody should be on an equal playing field, that everyone has equal worth."...

University officials said the event didn't violate campus policy.

"It is a freedom-of-speech issue. I know some schools have approached these events differently, but prior restraint is not something we would normally engage in," said Damon Sims, associate dean of students.

"This is one of the more significant social and political issues of our time. . . . It is exactly the kind of dialogue that should be encouraged on college campuses."


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