15.11.10

JUNK SOCIAL SCIENCE IS PERMISSIBLE IN SERVICE OF THE RIGHT CAUSES. Some students at Bucknell University parodied affirmative action with a bake sale in April 2009.
Bucknell shut it down because of a minor paperwork discrepancy, then forbade BUCC from ever holding such a bake sale in the future. (Click here for video and here for audio documentation of these points, despite Bucknell's lies to the contrary.)
Another list that was later misplaced. That happens often enough in these days. The story didn't die at Bucknell, or decay over four or five years as cohorts of students graduate, because John Stossel held his own bake sale, and made a television segment (online video at the FIRE post) and wrote a column about it.

More recently, a student group at Wesleyan University held the same kind of bake sale. The faculty response defies parody.
In the wake of an affirmative-action bake sale hosted by the campus conservative club, the Wesleyan University admissions office swore up and down that the school doesn’t have an affirmative-action policy — but now, a large number of the Wesleyan faculty have written in to Wesleyan’s campus paper, the Wesleyan Argus, to defend the practice of affirmative action.
Closer to home, a residence hall organization held a different kind of affirmative action casino.

Project RED (Residents Engaging in Diversity) hosted their fourth annual "Casino Night" in the Stevenson Towers Main Street Food Court, where students could play casino games without risking any actual money.

What made this casino different than most were the decorations. The walls were adorned with posters that read "For every $1 a white man earns, a white woman earns 74 cents."

Similarly, African American men earned 72 cents, black women earned 64 cents, Latino men earned 54 cents and Latina women earned 52 cents to the white man's $1, according to the posters.

There's a long tradition in higher education of alerting students to their privileged circumstances, and there are ways to get that point across while recognizing that race and sex differences in earnings disappear once job tenure, education, and experience are impounded in ceteris paribus.

That's too adult a problem for the reds.

Students' hands were marked with an X when they entered the casino floor, and they were given two $500 chips.

After students changed out their chips for smaller amount, they began to play games. With the "money" students earned, they had the opportunity to win prizes ranging from hooded sweatshirts, a blanket, T-shirts, hats, a basketball, and more items purchased from the University Bookstore.

When students were finished playing, they could cash out their chips in the form of raffle tickets and enter to win prizes.

Besides the educational posters that decorated the walls, there was another surprise in store for those in attendance.

When students lined up to cash in their chips, they were made aware that the Xs they had marked on their hand had a hidden meaning.

Each color X stood for a different race and sex, had been randomly assigned and would determine what kind of exchange rate they would get on their chips. For instance, people marked as white males would receive one raffle ticket per $50 in chips, whereas students marked as a Latina woman got one ticket per $100 in chips.

Not all students were happy after they heard about the unique caveat.

"I felt cheated," [sophomore Khaylin] Snead said.

Before the raffle drawing, [project coordinator Bianca] McGraw spoke about wage discrepancy to the crowd.

"This happens all the time," she said.

McGraw gave examples of coworkers receiving unequal pay for doing equal work, working equal hours and having equal experience. Students roundly agreed this was unfair.

An example is not a proof. A generalization from a small sample is not a trend. How difficult would it be to let the colors signify different levels of educational attainment?

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