On Thursday October 6, 2011, UC Berkeley’s Undergraduate Political Science Association (UPSA) held a one and a half hour panel discussion on Affirmative Action and SB 185. The panel speakers were: Shawn Lewis (Berkeley College Republicans-BCR), Andre Louis (Students for Liberty-SFL), Marco Amaral (La Raza), Glynn Custred (co-author of Proposition 209), Ronald Cruz (attorney for By Any Means Necessary-BAMN), Ruben Elias Canedo Sanchez (Student Life Advising Services/Educational Opportunity Program Research Coordinator).
This forum was the first following the bake sale in hopes of creating a nonpartisan event (which would allow for the discussion of race considerations in California Public University). Campus groups including Black Student Union (BSU), La Raza, and Movimiento Estudiantil Chican de Aztlán (MEChA), By Any MeanNecessary (BAMN), Cal Dems, and even the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) wanted the Berkeley College Republicans to discuss the issue of race in affirmative action in a more “constructive” and less “offensive” manner.
However, when push came to shove, the forum was a huge let down. The vast majority of attendees were associated with Students for Liberty and the Berkeley College Republicans themselves. It begs the question: If so many groups found our methods to be so offensive and had hoped that we would have constructive dialogue, why did none of them show up? The same people that criticized our methods failed to attend the discussion they hoped we would hold instead.
But of course, the answer is plain and simple. They are not interested in dialogue which does not come as a surprise. The BCR executive board and board of directors have long known the problem with the left which is that they are willing to do everything short of answering the hard questions. That is why we decided to hold a bake sale.
Forums allowing for discussion are too “progressive” and we knew from the beginning that these student groups would not show up. UPSA has held forums in the past regarding sensitive issues such as American intervention in Libya and the left did not bother to attend. On the other hand, BCR members have actively shown support for open dialogue. About 15-20 members have regularly shown up to forum discussions. BCR hoped to create campus dialogue and we have done our part–Don’t UC our side of the argument? ■