Tuesday, January 17, 2006

DePaul Censors Free Speech by closing Affirmative Action Bake Sale

Well it seems as though the political correctness police at DePaul University have once again hammered away free speech and freedom of thought. The target of authoritarianism was none other then a simple protest against Affirmative Action, by means of a bake sale.

The basic theory behind this bake sale was to set prices which favor some races over others, just like what Affirmative Action advocates. It was a satirical protest to show the ridiculous nature of the policy when implemented in every day life. Students and administrators, by banning or opposing this bake sale, are paradoxically taking a situational stand as opposed to a principled stand on the inherent bias of this policy. Prices went as this:

White and Asian Males- 1.00
White and Asian Females- .75 cents
Black, Hispanic, and Native American Males- .50 cents
Black, Hispanic, and Native American Females- .25 cents
(This is the sign deemed "inappropriate" by McVarish)

The protest went on for roughly 1 hour and 30 mins before public safety came.We made somewhere in the range of 5 to 6 total dollars, as our aim was not to make money, but to foster debate about Affirmative Action on campus, and let the students know DePaul engages in such a discriminatory practice. Soon after the public safety came, the Dean of Students Greg McVarish, ended the civil and constitutionally protected protest. He walked up casually to the table and asked that we close up shop. Seeing as I am not in the profession of mind-reading I implored McVarish as to why we had to leave a peaceful protest in which we were merely engaging in debate with students of all races. He shot back in a pompous and consuming voice, 'Because I'm the Dean of Students.' That was his initial reason to close up the protest, because he has the authority to do so, even though our actions are constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. I again asked for a more sufficient reason and he then responded politely but sternly, 'Because your sign is inappropriate.' My sign was inappropriate? So now the Dean of Students can randomly use his authority to shut down peaceful protests with the mere subjectivity of his own reasoning? How can this be I asked? To point out the paradoxical nature of Mr. McVarish, I distinctly remember a stunt pulled by "The Students for Palestine" sometime last year. The setup of the presentation consisted of aligning fake dead bodies made of paper in the middle of the entire Student Center with bloody bullet holes in their head and body under the title of something like, ' Israeli Occupation Kills Palestinians." You would think McVarish would convene his moral authority to impede such ridiculous obscene graphics of "inappropriate" behavior, but McVarish was no where to be found. This protest was never shut down. This protest of Israeli occupation was never shut down, even though it clearly was "inappropriate." After the request from McVarish I got up peacefully and closed up shop with zero resistance and knew that this was merely one battle in the major war that will ensue against DePaul because of their limiting of free speech on campus.

Of course, the outrage and Stalinesque arm of DePaul is not satisfied with merely shutting down the bake sale and censoring free speech. As a matter of fact, three of us at the bake sale are now being investigated on “anti-discriminatory harassment” charges. Yes, that is correct. The one and only DePaul Student Affairs office is now rounding up me and two others to possibly seek further action for violating the Anti-Discriminatory Harassment Policy. The policy is ripe with ambiguity and stomps the discretionary free speech all students should have entitlement too. FIRE, an organization that promotes free speech on campus has now written a letter to DePaul on our behalf asking them to drop this petty investigation.

The sad fact of it all is that this is nothing new, nothing uncommon, nothing out of the ordinary for DePaul, a haven for liberal thought, to clamp down on the conservative students because they disagree with them. I think Greg Lukianoff put it best on a recent episode of a Fox News show called Hannity and Colmes, when he proclaimed loud and clear that “DePaul is a basket case.”


Freedomnow said...

Very funny protest. I'm not too strongly against affirmative action, but your point is well made.


Anonymous said...

It's awesome someone like you has the guts to do this kind of stuff. I was very disapointed when I heard they were going to do to you after the bake sale...hopefully it all ends without too much trouble.

Freedom Toast said...

Although i completely disagree with your politics, i stand firm in my support for your freedom of speech and your right to protest. Furthermore, the means by which you presented your view is both creative and courageous. As I have already said, Conservatives have long been absent from traditional forms of protest (save those radicals who protest (read: bomb) abortion clinics and those who protest the funerals of soldiers), and I commend you and your organization for demonstrating. This being said, i do believe you have misrepresented the core principles of affirmative action. A more realistic (and exemplary of affirmative action) demonstration in my view would be as follows:

Option 1.

A food sale is held. At said food sale, customers can choose from cookies, brownies, steak, and spinach. The prices are irrelevant, but they remain the same for each potential customer. However, the items which each potential customer can purchase varies from person to person. White and Asian males can chose from any item on the table. White and Asian Females can chose only from brownies, cookies, and spinach. Black, Hispanic, and Native American males can chose from only cookies and spinach. And finally, Black, Hispanic, and Native American females can only chose spinach.

Affirmative action would allow for all potential customers to purchase the same items at the same price.

Option 2.

A food sale is held. At said food sale, customers can choose from cookies, brownies, steak, and spinach. The prices are irrelevant, but they remain the same for each potential customer. At the bake sale there are twenty people [15 white and 5 “minority” citizens (I put this in quotes because I am regretfully placing ‘them’ into one group)] with no money in their wallet. This is not a problem; in lieu of money you allot everyone a set amount of “play money” by which they are to purchase the goods at your sale. The 15 white people get $5.00 each, and the minorities get $1.00 each. Each item’s price is conveniently set at $1.00. Every person spends all of his or her money.
The profits from the sale determine which products will be sold at any subsequent bake sale. Furthermore, those consumers who buy the most will be provided preferential treatment at subsequent sales. Those who buy the least will be asked to leave (subsequent sales) or will be directed to a location where inferior products are sold at prices which they can afford (based on the income society has dictated they deserve).

Affirmative action would give each potential customer the same amount of purchasing power before entering the market

I cannot stress enough your right to protest, I just think your demonstration was a little off in its approach to affirmative action.


Geoff Pettys

Freedomnow said...

Dear Freedomn Later,

You miss the point when you say, "Affirmative action would allow for all potential customers to purchase the same items at the same price."

A black high school graduate from a wealthy family is getting one hell of a discount.

Affirmative Action was badly needed in the 70s and 80s but times have changed and our conservative friends have some valid points.

Minorities are doing quite well in our society. Things are getting better and better for them. Those college kids who run around screaming about racism are brainwashed by political activist college professors and alternative culture (I was a punk rock anarchist/activist for years, dont bullshit me).

I grew up in a predominately black neighborhood and even though I am hispanic I am very light skinned so I suffered from years of racism from blacks (I was actually bussed to a white school as a part of the integration campaign of the 70s).

In my life I have never seen a black or hispanic treated as badly as I have. I am not saying that it doesnt happen. I am saying that reverse racism is more prevalent these days.

You have every right to disagree with the protest, but to silence such a harmless protest is a vile attack on the freedom of speech. However, because this attack didnt happen to leftwing activists there is no outrage from the media.

There is an overwhelming bias towards "progressive" activism and outright bigotry against conservatives (I am not a conservative, but I sympathize with their opposition to Islamist and Baathist fascism).

Laura said...

I'm a DePaul alum, and I remember trying to have a bake sale for raising money for an academic trip and we were told we couldn't because of health code violations. Not sure if this has changed in the 7 years I've been gone.

I was also a member of the DePaulia staff when the newspaper was shut down by a student protest in 1994-95. The administration gave no support to the DePaulia staff while coddling the protestors.

I would classify myself as a liberal, and I'm partially agreeing with you... wouldn't that be evidence that discussion is better than silence?

Laura said...

I forgot to add that I would agree with your pricing strategy for different reasons... white men should pay more, because they're paid more in the marketplace than other groups for the same work... I only WISH I got to pay $0.71 per every dollar a white man paid for the same products.

Freedomnow said...

It is true that on average white men make more money, but there are plenty of poor and even homeless white men.

If you are so concerned about the poor then why dont you promote equality for the poor and not reverse discrimination against white men?

Freedomnow said...

Whats with the silence thing?

Laura said...

The silence thing was me agreeing with you that silencing dissent is not the correct way for the administration to deal with issues. But also taking issue with your exclusionary liberals vs. conservative rhetoric I see here.

And yes, I know that issues of socieconomic class trump race in most cases. As for whether or not Affirmative action is reverse racism is a whole other debate.

Freedomnow said...

Liberals and Conservative strongly disagree with each other. In this debate I find greater value in the Conservative's arguments, is that wrong?

Should I side with Nihilists to be politically correct?

If Conservatives were to say that Blacks or women should be banned from the campus then I would side with the Liberals.

Commie Knight said...

LOL! I admire your rather clever demonstrative activity Mr. O'Shea. I too am not a fan of affirmative action, however. I do not know if this would be a protest or a persuasion, but it was a very clever and thoughtful persuasion. Using the bake sale to demonstrate how affirmative action is actually reverse racism is I think in all honesty quite convincing.

As for freedom toast's comment that conservatives have long been absent from protest. I agree, but be careful about which examples you cite. Genuine onservatives are a dying breed, depending how you define conservatives. Those who think Molotov cocktails are an example of peaceful protest against abortion or picket the funerals of soldiers (are you referring to Fred Phelps?) are conservative in name only, but are actually fascists. Unfortunately, the Christianazis seem to be having an increasing influence over American society and the Government.