Baking With Fire
Multiple excuses. Opponents of these bake sales will use almost any argument to shut them down. At the University of Washington, the administration said the sponsor had failed to get a food permit. At Grand Valley, the university counsel argued that the sale of a single cupcake would convert political commentary into forbidden campus commerce. At Eastern Washington, the varying prices were denounced as unfair marketing. At Texas A&M, the athletics director argued that a satirical bake sale would damage the sports teams by making it harder to recruit minority players. Apart from the complaint that opposition to affirmative action is evidence of bias, the most common tactic used against the sales is the "heckler's veto": Disruptions may occur, but instead of protecting the cookie sellers, the colleges decree that sales must be banned.
Campus culture is so heavily pitched against dissent that many students react viscerally to those who disagree and can't even understand when such dissent is reasonable. David French, president of FIRE, blames the uniformity of thought on campus. He says that because the suppression of bake sales meets approval in faculty lounges, opponents are often surprised when the public notices the censorship and reacts against it. In terms of the hothouse campus culture, suppression seems normal. But the censors can't justify in public what they do in private. The lesson for pastry rebels is to get in touch with FIRE and take the issue public as early as possible.