Posted on April 12, 2005

College Republicans Apologize for Bake Sale

Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, Muskegon Chronicle (Mich.), April 7, 2005

Kyle Rausch started the day Monday as president of the Grand Valley State University College Republicans.

By day’s end, he had denounced the Republican party and was considering law school as an alternative to public office.

“My political career is pretty much shot,” said the 19-year-old political science major who spearheaded last month’s controversial bake sale, sponsored by the College Republicans.

At the club’s meeting Monday, Rausch, club vice president Paul Leitelt, and treasurer Matt Blondke were asked by fellow members to resign.

“There was outside advice, but the group made the decision on its own,” said Mike Westcott, past president and founder of the Grand Valley chapter of the College Republicans.

Westcott, 23, of Grand Haven, said the group wants to “apologize for offending and move on.”

The March 21 bake sale upset several students, including five who filed complaints with the university, alleging the group violated GVSU’s anti-discrimination policy.

During the sale, the students offered cupcakes for $2 for white men, 75 cents for blacks and white women, 50 cents for Asians and Hispanics, and 5 cents for American Indians.

Prompted by the complaints, administrators set up a review panel to conduct a hearing this Friday.

Paul Leidig, the club’s faculty adviser, said “the club supported the idea of the bake sale as a satirical form of expression against affirmative action.”

But Leidig, who also is chairman of the Ottawa County Republican Party, said he did not know the students planned to use a racially biased price scale when he approved the event.

“Had I known that, I would have not approved it,” he said.

As a result of the controversy, Leidig said he advised the students to consider a leadership change to acknowledge they respect the fact people were offended by the bake sale.

“They do not feel they violated any section of the student code,” Leidig said.

Rausch said he was planning to make a case at Friday’s review for why the group had the right to hold the bake sale.

“The university recognized the fact that as long as I was in the driver’s seat, I was not going to back down,” Rausch said.

“They used the Republican Party to force me out and got the group to apologize for something they never should have apologized for.

“I’ve been called a bigot and racist,” Rausch said. “There’s nothing racist about saying affirmative action should be based on economic means and not race.”