The Michigan Review held a bake sale Monday in Angell Hall in order to demonstrate its stance on the University’s admissions policies. By selling goods at a cheaper price for minority students, the Review tried to demonstrate that the University’s admissions policy is unfairly biased.
The bake sale offered goods to white students for $1 while it sold the same goods to minority students for 80 cents. These prices were chosen as parallels for the University’s numerical admissions system, in which a student is required to earn 100 points on a 150-point scale in order to be admitted, and 20 of those points are earned just for being an underrepresented minority student. The Review used this fact to support its point that minority students are receiving benefits solely based on their race.
This bake sale was a truly creative way for the Review to make its voice heard on a campus currently split over the issue of affirmative action. Student involvement, especially in nontraditional expressions, should always be encouraged on this campus. It is refreshing to see such a clever approach to expressing a viewpoint, and despite its shortfalls, the Review should be commended for its fresh idea.
Still, the Review’s bake sale did not accurately represent the University’s admission policy. The sale had two prices – a student paid either 80 cents or $1 – depending only on the color of that student’s skin. The University’s point system, however, takes into consideration not only whether that student is a member of an underrepresented racial minority, but also the socioeconomic status of an applicant, the geographic location of his or her high school, participation in athletics at the University and the discretion of the provost – each of which could earn a prospective student 20 points, or a 20 cent discount on the Review’s muffins.
The bake sale also failed to account for the 10 points a Michigan resident automatically receives as well as the six additional points that resident would receive should he or she come from an underrepresented county. Furthermore, the bake sale did not allow persons from underrepresented states to save an additional 2 cents for the two points the University’s policy allocates to those applicants. If the bake sale were to be an accurate metaphor for the University admissions policy, the Review should have offered savings of up to 8 cents for a student of any background who chose to take more challenging courses in high school or charged 4 cents more for students who chose less rigorous class schedules.
The Review relayed its message creatively to University students, but it should be careful not to omit key details when crafting analogies for debate. The Review’s argument would have been stronger had it approached the policy in its entirety.