Bucknell University Would Thwart AAUW 'Wage Gap' Bake Sales
July 1, 2010
by Adam Kissel
AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women) is a formidable nationwide entity with much to contribute to campus debate:
For more than 128 years, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day-educational, social, economic, and political. Our commitment to our mission is reflected in all aspects of our work.
AAUW boasts "more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institution partners." In Pennsylvania alone, AAUW has partnerships with 29 colleges and universities—public and private, religious and secular. But AAUW has no official presence at Bucknell University, and I think it would get in a lot of trouble if it did.
One of the ways that AAUW Pennsylvania recommends engaging with the campus is to hold what are known as "wage gap" bake sales:
Hold a bake sale where items cost men a dollar and women 77 cents.
The point of this satirical, political theater obviously is to spread the message that, as they report, "women earn only $.77 of the male's $1.00." The Campus Women's Organization at the University of Pittsburgh reportedly held such a sale last September, "symbolically charging women 75 cents for every man's dollar."
The point is to demonstrate the gender wage gap, not to discriminate against men. According to Bucknell University, however, such a bake sale is discriminatory, illegal, and banned at Bucknell. It would be banned even if the pricing were symbolic and optional.
Bucknell is dead wrong: wage gap bake sales, as well as "affirmative action" bake sales, occur at colleges across the country and are permitted because they are perfectly legal. This is the primary reason why Bucknell deserves the national shame that FIRE is giving and will continue to give until Bucknell changes course, stops misrepresenting the law, and starts respecting its free speech promises.
Maybe Bucknell thinks it can keep getting away with violating its promises because the main victim so far has been the Bucknell University Conservatives Club. I'd like to see how quickly Bucknell is willing to act against a group with 100,000 people behind it.