Conservative Texas Student Group Holds 'Affirmative Action' Bake Sale

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

( - A conservative Texas student group is planning an "affirmative action" bake sale and pledge drive Wednesday to protest the creation of a new position addressing diversity at Texas A&M University.

The group is opposed to the new vice president of institutional assessment and diversity position at the university. Dr. James A. Anderson will assume this post on Nov. 19.

The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) held a similar bake sale in September at Southern Methodist University, but university administrators shut it down.

"We hope our affirmative action bake sale and pledge drive will show the students of Texas A&M University the fallacies of many of the so called 'diversity' initiatives being pursued by Texas A&M and other universities across the country," said YCT-A&M Current Issues Director Rebecca Falkowski in a statement.

"During our pledge drive, we will be seeking out 'non-underrepresented-minority' students and faculty supportive of affirmative action who wish to express, in writing, their willingness to give up their spot at Texas A&M to be replaced by a member of a racial class who would be more valued by the vice president of diversity," Falkowski said.

"Our affirmative action bake sale is intended to expose the ludicrous nature of race-based admissions policies. Just as it is abhorrent to judge people based on their skin color in the sale of baked goods, it is abhorrent to recruit, admit or hire individuals for A&M based on their skin color," said YCT Communications Director Mark McCraig.

"It is our sincere desire that the Texas A&M administration will look beyond race and other superficial characteristics and instead focus on ways to contribute to the intellectual diversity of Texas A&M University," McCraig added.

Anderson was recruited from his position as vice provost for undergraduate affairs at North Carolina State University.

Anderson has received numerous awards and honors over the years, including Distinguished Black Pennsylvanian Award in 1988, Who's Who Among Black Americans 1986-87 and the Distinguished Service Award from the Commission on Human Resources and Social Change in 2001.

The Dallas chapter of the NAACP did not return phone calls seeking comment.

"It is sad that a university department head and a new vice president have tried to drum up support and mobilize students to celebrate racial discrimination," said YCT-A&M Executive Director Sarah Davis.

"One memo even suggested that minority students who support our stand against affirmative action should ignore their principles because of their race. Can we expect the vice president of diversity, who will be paid $170,000 a year, to continue to use university resources to target conservative students?" Davis added.

YCT-A&M Chairman Matthew Maddox pointed to a memo he claimed was written by the dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. G. Kimble, "detailing certain guidelines the College of Engineering plans to employ when hiring 112 new faculty members."

"Two such guidelines are 'a minimum of one-third of the new hires would include women or individuals from underrepresented groups,' and 'a minimum of one endowed chair or professorship per department will be designated for exceptional women faculty candidates or faculty candidates from underrepresented groups,'" Maddox said.

"YCT will continue to protest any official or unofficial Texas A&M policy that uses race as a factor in hiring or admissions," Maddox concluded.
When contacted by for comment, a university spokesman referred to a statement from the interim vice president for student affairs, Dr. Bill Kibler.

"This is a freedom of speech and freedom of expression issue, and the university obviously honors those provisions of the Constitution," Kibler said in the statement.

"Thus, no action is planned regarding the activity proposed by this particular group provided it does not interfere with any ongoing university activities or violate any university rules or regulations," Kibler added.

"Concerning the stated reason for the group's proposed activities, Texas A&M remains firm in its commitment to create a student body, faculty and staff reflective of the ethnic and racial makeup of Texas, and we are confident that Dr. Anderson can provide vital leadership in achieving that goal," Kibler concluded.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.