Bake sale is catalyst for discussion on affirmative action

Last week, The Hurricane reported on the Advocates for Conservative Thought [ACT] affirmative action bake sale and the counter-bake sale put on by various minority and international student organizations. However, while the counter-bake sale was held in the UC Breezeway last Wednesday, as scheduled, the ACT bake did not occur until two days later.

Over 150 students gathered on the Rock as the bake sale went on in the UC Breezeway.

“We heard about [ACT’s] plan, and we were expecting them to be out there Wednesday,” Myriam Bien-Aime, sophomore, said. “We can’t let something like this go on – we can’t be disrespected on campus.”

Dr. Patricia Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, hopes that the student leaders of the various organizations involved, including ACT, continue to discuss these issues in a different venue.

“UM is a very diverse campus, and how they chose to deliver their message, in my mind, was hurtful to our minority students,” Whitely said. “This is a very diverse campus. I personally saw in their eyes the hurt that they experienced. I’m not sure that that’s necessary to have conversations about different opinions.”

However, Sarah Canale, ACT co-president, felt the reaction to the bake sale was a measure of its success.

“We wanted the issue of affirmative action to be discussed on campus, which was clearly obtained,” Canale said. “We wanted to present the racial injustice of affirmative action, and that’s the metaphor of the bake sale, so that goal was achieved as well.”

ACT passed out a flyer saying, “Our bake sale is only as racist as affirmative action is,” and encouraged students to “take a stand” and oppose affirmative action.

Many students mentioned that ACT is supported by SAFAC, which uses the student activity fee that all UM students pay to allot money to organizations on campus. Thus, some argue that they are indirectly paying to be singled out.

“I am so shocked. What ACT is doing is straight up wrong,” Ciara Mohamad, sophomore, said. “People do not come to this school to be discriminated against.”

Students from United Black Students [UBS] signed up to be a part of ACT’s email list and plan to attend ACT meetings in the future.

Andrea Kiser, ACT co-president, said that while typically only students with a conservative view participate in ACT, everyone is welcome to be a part of the organization.

According to Bryan Jones, president of UBS, approximately 1,000 people have signed a petition in support of the minority and international organizations, expressing concern that the ACT bake sale was disrespectful to many students.

“Honestly, we can’t do anything about those people,” Jones said. “Everything we are going to do to counter that is positive.”

Megha Garg can be contacted at