A conservative student group has been acquitted of a charge that it violated DePaul University’s anti-harassment policy when it conducted a protest against affirmative action, the school announced Monday. However, the DePaul Conservative Alliance (DCA) was found guilty of violating the Code of Student Responsibility and censured.
In January, the DCA held an “affirmative action bake sale” to mock affirmative action policies in higher education. The protests, which have occurred on other college and university campuses, involve white and Asian students being charged more for baked goods than blacks and Hispanics. The mock bake sales are designed to criticize affirmative action policies, not to raise funds.
DePaul officials shut down the protest and opened an investigation to determine if the conservative group violated the university’s Anti-Discriminatory Harassment Policy.
In a letter to DCA co-founder Michael O’Shea on Feb. 20, DePaul Vice President for Student Advocacy Cynthia Summers wrote that the school found the group not guilty of violating the harassment policy. Nevertheless, she said, the group had violated the Code of Student Responsibility.
The code requires that student groups “exercise good judgment in planning and promoting their activities.” In a statement released by the university, DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider explained that “the bake sale was a protest and was intentionally misrepresented by DCA in its promotion table application.”
As punishment, the group is required to participate in or host “at least one university-wide event concerning affirmative action principles and practices,” according to the letter. The university’s letter does not dictate the nature of the event, except for requiring that it be an “educational opportunity.”
The DCA will also be restricted from using university “promo tables” to advertise the club on campus for the remainder of the spring semester.