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A&M diversity draws debate

Published: Thursday, November 20, 2003

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

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Joseph Sanchez (left) of Aggie LULAC discusses affirmative action with Cody House of the Young Conservatives of Texas at the YTC affirmative action bakesale on Wednesday. - Sonia Moghe

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Multicultural organizations at Texas A&M counter-protest the Young Conservatives of Texas affirmative action bakesale by giving away free baked goods. - Sonia Moghe

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Weston Balch, left, of Texas A&M´s chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, discusses the issue of affirmative action with fellow students atan affirmative action bake sale hosted by YCT on Wednesday. YCT gathered to protest the addition of a new presidents of institutional assessment and diversity to A&M´s staff. - Sonia Moghe * The Battalion

Student groups gathered Wednesday to protest and support Dr. James Anderson taking office as vice president and associate provost for institutional assessment and diversity.

One student group, the Texas A&M chapter of Young Conservatives of America held an affirmative action bake sale in protest.

"We're out here today to show our objections to this new administrative position," said Mark McCaig, communications director for the YCT.

After YCT announced its intentions to hold the bake sale, the Department of Multicultural Services urged multicultural student organizations to show their support for Anderson by setting up tables at Rudder Fountain. Several organizations rallied against the bake sale outside the Academic Building.

"This is probably the most diverse group of students I've ever seen on campus," said Nick Anthis, president of the Texas Aggie Democrats.

The bake sale, not meant to raise money but merely raise awareness about affirmative action, offered store-bought baked goods for sale at prices based on race. Asians had to pay $1 for baked goods, whites 75 cents, Hispanics 25 cents, and African Americans 10 cents.

The reason for the pricing was symbolic; those who paid the most at the bake sale paid the most because of affirmative action. Asians paid the most because they are put at the greatest disadvantage by affirmative action, McCaig said.

"I'm offended by the way (the YCT) approached the situation," said Rebekah Sanchez, a member of Delta Xi Nu. "They could have been more politically correct - I think they focused too much on shock value."

The YCT's position is that the hiring of Anderson deprives A&M of funds that could otherwise be used to fund student activities, lower tuition costs and help support dying departments, such as the department of journalism.

Other groups, such as the Texas Aggie Democrats, see Anderson's appointment as a move in the right direction. Anthis said he was shocked when he first came to A&M as a freshman by how much the school lacked diversity of race, religion and ideas.

"We support the University's attempt to diversify A&M," Anthis said. "We don't want to see this small but vocal group ruin that."

Matt Maddox, President of the YCT, said the bake sale, although offensive to some, benefits the campus because it allowed students of different ideological backgrounds to get together and debate their opinions.

"We've engaged in spirited debate, but nothing violent has occurred," Maddox said. "We just wanted to encourage Anderson to look past superficial characteristics such as race in attempting to diversify A&M and instead look to diversify intellectually."

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