Thursday, September 25, 2003

Cookies -- unsafe at any speed 

What the hell?
Southern Methodist University shut down a bake sale Wednesday in which cookies were offered for sale at different prices, depending on the buyer's race or gender.

The sale was organized by the Young Conservatives of Texas, who said it was intended as a protest of affirmative action. ...

Similar sales have been held by College Republican chapters at colleges in at least five other states since February.

A black student filed a complaint with SMU, saying the sale was offensive. SMU officials said they halted the event after 45 minutes because it created a potentially unsafe situation.

"This was not an issue about free speech," Tim Moore, director of the SMU student center, said in a story for Thursday's edition of The Dallas Morning News. "It was really an issue where we had a hostile environment being created."

It's hostile to offer students of color a discount on cookies?

UPDATE: Best of the Web picked up the story, including this quote from a SMU sophomore:

My reaction was disgust because of the ignorance of some SMU students. They were arguing that affirmative action was solely based on race. It's not based on race. It's based on bringing a diverse community to a certain organization.
Notes BotW, "Doublethink is alive and well in Dallas."

UPDATE 2: Eugene Volokh makes an excellent point: As a private university (unlike SCSU), SMU can do this if they want to, but...

Is SMU the sort of place where students are free to express their political views on one of the leading ethical, legal, and political issues of the day? Or is this the sort of place where complaints that ideas are "offensive" are enough to shut those ideas down? If it's the latter, then SMU might be a place where classes are taught -- but it's not my idea of what a modern university should be.
UPDATE LAST (boy did the blogosphere jump all over this!) You really should read Michael at Highered Intelligence as well with this reaction to the student quote in the first update:
that has to be my least favourite rhetorical maneuver of all time. Republicans, Democrats, and Idiots alike constantly say stuff like this. It's not about what it is actually about, it's about what we want it to be about. It's not about higher taxes, it's about a balanced budget. It's not about race, it's about diversity.