Clemson club’s bake sale prompts backlash from students

A student organization's bake sale has sparked backlash from the Clemson community, social media posts show.

A student organization’s bake sale has sparked backlash from the Clemson community, social media posts show.

Screengrab from @clemsontpusa’s Instagram

A bake sale hosted by Clemson University students is eliciting backlash from the community, social media posts show.

The “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” was hosted on Wednesday, Feb. 1, by Clemson’s chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) — a national non-profit that says its mission is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom.”

Students in the club were “selling” cookies with prices determined by the buyer’s race, social media posts show.

The group set up a table outside one of the university’s buildings with cookies and a sign displaying prices, one post showed. According to the sign, cookies cost $1.50 for Asian buyers, $1 for White buyers, 50 cents for Hispanic buyers, 20 cents for Black buyers and were free for Native American buyers.

The club later posted an Instagram story clarifying that the cookies were all free, and the prices were just to “highlight the racism of affirmative action.”

“Our stance is very clear: We do not support affirmative action,” the post read.

The group said the cookies were not actually for sale but instead the prices were meant to show “the racism of affirmative action.” Screengrab from @clemsontpusa’s Instagram

The club shared a statement on Thursday, Feb. 2 explaining that it did not have “ill intentions” behind its bake sale.

“We were not suggesting in any way that individuals at Clemson did not work hard to be here,” the statement, which was shared on Instagram, said. “Instead, we simply believe applicants should only be judged based on their performance and qualifications, not their race.”

Affirmative action is a “race-conscious policy” that allows schools to consider an applicant’s race as a means to promote a diverse student body, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The policy was first implemented in the 1960s.

“Unlike universities that implement Affirmative Action programs and set different standards for different races, we handed out cookies to ALL students yesterday — regardless of race,” the club said in its statement.

Clemson University has an Affirmative Action Plan with goals and benchmarks aimed at “remov[ing] any nonsense effects of past discrimination until parity is reached,” according to a university policy.

Turning Point USA did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

The bake sale has prompted backlash from Clemson community members and others online, many of whom believe the sale was racist, especially because it was held on the first day of Black History Month.

“Y’all already know you SPECIALLY chose the first day of black history month to do this… don’t claim y’all are spittin facts when it’s blatant racism,” one person commented on Clemson TPUSA’s Instagram.

“Y’all should be so embarrassed…a sad day for Clemson,” another person wrote.

“Every time Clemson University tries to progress in a bigoted Deep South atmosphere, it gets set back by individuals conducting actions and ways of thinking such as this,” a third person said in a comment. ”Don’t make us alumni embarrassed to say we went here.”

Another person shared a TikTok video showing the bake sale, saying “Pov: You go to Clemson University.”

“This is literally so grossly patronizing and racist,” one person commented. “Who green light[ed] Este??? On February first?!”

“That is so disturbing that there are students on this campus that even thought of this,” another person said.

Clemson University did not immediately return McClatchy News’ request for comment.

Moira Ritter covers real-time news for McClatchy. She is a graduate of Georgetown University where she studied government, journalism and German. Previously, she reported for CNN Business.


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