Alec Weisman, Editor-in-Chief
Contributions by California Review Editorial Board
We believe we have a moral imperative to keep interested members of the UCSD community informed about the radical censorship and hypocrisy of the administration. Looking back at recent updates to the twisted saga of the “Compton Cookout” and the MF Koala comedy controversy, we find things have become incredibly convoluted. I’d also like to add that I have been following this story to such an extent precisely BECAUSE I support the Constitutional rights of all individuals at UCSD, including the distressed African American students and community, but I strongly oppose the racial favoritism game that’s being played right now by the administration, Associated Students, the Black Student Union, politicians in Sacramento, and the media.
To distinguish between the rampaging stories, we mark topic shifts with ‘***’ below.
We list their demands below. Now, many of you have told me that you find most of the demands unacceptable. So we also discuss some of the more compelling arguments we’ve heard against them; and as this saga continues, we’ll continue listening to what you have to say.
• We demand a Permanent Task Force to fund more outreach efforts and create more opportunities for hiring African-American Faculty.
Shouldn’t we be hiring the best of academia rather than judging “by the color of their skin?” Why do they have to be African-American?
• We demand the University fully fund the traditional and non-traditional events of the Black Student Union in our efforts to create a better climate for ourselves.
Seems to me you just want a larger slice of the pie. My student fees go to your organization, as well as the ones I’m involved in. In fact, more money goes to fund the events of the BSU than goes toward funding the California Review.
• Match Funds with Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service (SPACES) budget including the Student Initiated Access Program and Services (SIAPS) and Academic Success Program (ASP) budgets.
Again, you just want more money from students…
• We demand that every time the freshmen class enrollment is cut the University matches the student fees that they would have been paying to SPACES permanently to SPACES.
You ask for more money for SPACES? What do you plan on using it for?
Perhaps you plan on spending it on the wannabe-Marxist newspaper that worries more about creating equal outcomes than workers’ rights, the Collective Voice. The Collective Voice, which is the university-funded newspaper of SPACES, is NOT affected by this media funding freeze.
Why do you believe your paper deserves more funding than the ones which may disagree with you or offend you? Are you going to come after the California Review next?
• We demand that Chancellor Fox uses more energy and resources to providing research based scholarships for African-American students as a part of a retention component from the Chancellor’s Diversity Office.
What do we do now, and what does “more energy and resources” mean? You’re speaking in generalities, but it’s once again clear that the point is to try to get more money. Looking at the numbers, black enrollment at UCSD has risen 43% over the last decade, from 257 to 368, while Caucasian enrollment has declined by 7%.
• Demand the University to increase the African-American populations in all areas of the campus including, Students (undergraduates and graduates), PhD Candidates, Faculty, Staff and Administration.
How do you propose to achieve that goal? Affirmative action is illegal in California for both university admissions and government hiring.
• We demand the University directly fully fund Faculty-Student Mentor Programs.
Please elaborate on this in more detail.
• We demand the University staff the vacant Program Coordinator position of the African-American Studies Minor
Please elaborate on why this is vacant and what type of financial strain this would put on the University.
• We demand the Chancellor’s office make the African-American Studies Minor and the Chicano Latina/o Arts and Humanities Minor a priority for the University.
Please elaborate on the use of these programs and their ability to land graduates jobs in the “real world.” If there is such a high demand for these minors, create a petition.
• We demand the University to charge a Task Force to create the plan for an African-American Resource Center on Campus in two years to provide a safe space for the African-American community.
Isn’t space already allocated in the Cross Cultural Center and SPACES?
• We demand that Chancellor Fox create an Office for Diversity Affairs from her administration instead of a part-time position with a title.
Please explain why this part-time position should be expanded to a full-time position. What are the justifications for this?
• We demand the Chancellor fully funds the Chief Diversity Office.
• We demand a change of Admissions Policy from a Comprehensive to a Holistic Review beginning for the Fall 2011 applicant pool.
So you want us to be like UCLA. Just for people who don’t know, Holistic Review means: “Using a broad concept of merit, readers assess a candidate’s ability to succeed at UCLA by reference to the following criteria, which carry no pre-assigned weights: The applicant’s full record of achievement in college preparatory work in high school; Personal qualities of the applicant; Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus; Performance on standardized tests; Achievement in academic enrichment programs; Other evidence of achievement; Opportunities; Challenges faced”
• We demand that campus climate becomes the Chancellor’s number one priority, especially in this time of crisis.
What do you think has happened, even before you made a mountain out of a molehill? We’ve been spammed by no less than three messages from the Chancellor about these incidents, and there are meetings and teach-ins to address the situation. What more do you want the administration to do?
• We demand Chancellor Fox and the University have mutual respect of the “Principles of Community” and create a precedent of prioritizing students of color and leading by example. We demand that there be repercussions when the “Principles of Community” are blatantly being violated.
So you’d like to correct a violation of the Principles of Community with a violation of the United States Constitution?
• We demand the Chancellor’s Office charges the Campus Climate Commission that will work primarily on improving the campus climate and providing a safer and more welcoming space and experience for the students of underrepresented communities and the entire student body.
This has been addressed. “We’re creating a high level Commission on Climate: Chancellor Fox will appoint and charge a Commission of diverse students, faculty and administrators to continue the progress made in discussions between the senior administration and students. The Commission will work to identify best practices to address campus climate, and members will review existing reports and advice, such as the “Do UC Us? Campaign to Increase Numbers of African-American Students at the University of California, San Diego” report, in developing action plans.”
• We demand a permanent quarterly and annual campus climate report from this Campus Climate Commission. This Campus Climate Commission must report directly to SAAC.
Why is the Campus Climate Commission accountable to SAAC?
• We demand the University create a space in the central part of campus safe for African-American students on campus.
See our comment on your earlier “safe space” demand.
• We demand the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Chief Diversity Office meet with the chair and vice chair of the Black Student Union at least once every academic quarter.
Ok sounds reasonable, but oh wait. It’s called arrange a meeting with their offices. They’re busy, so stop making demands and take the initiative to talk to them. There are staff walk-in hours, faculty walk-in hours, and student walk-in hours. You want a meeting, you arrange a meeting. End of story.
• We demand the University provide financial education and counseling, teaching students from low-income, underprivileged communities how to manage their money being independent college students.
Why is this being forced on the University? A student organization could easily be created to do this.
• We demand that the University sends out a campus-wide email presenting the Black Student Union’s Do UC us? Campaign Report on Yield of African-American students immediately.
The University already voluntarily did that, thanks.
• We demand the University live up to it’s “Principles of Community” and show leadership and integrity by giving up the remains of the Kumeeay tribe and respect the native land on which we are housed.
For those who don’t know, the debate is over bones found in 1976 at UCSD. The interesting thing is that the school offered to begin the repatriation process in 2009, but because the bones have been deemed “culturally unidentifiable,” the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee (KCRC) refused to allow the school to begin the process. In the meantime, the KCRC and their supporters have used the bones to rally support against the University.
• We demand three permanent designated spaces for African-American inspired art to reflect the struggle and progress for students of color on this campus.
• We demand that Chancellor Fox fully funds this Art space. We demand that the mural “Chicano Legacy” become a permanent art piece on this campus. We demand that Native American, Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander cultural art is reflected publicly on this campus.
Are you kidding me? You are arguing to maintain a mural on campus with a decidedly political message arguing on behalf of Universal Health Care, Opposition to War, and “Human Raza Rights.” Although I have no problem with the right half of the mural, the message by the BSU is obvious.
The mural itself was promoted by the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana y Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), the Student Affirmative Action Committee (SAAC), and the Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service (SPACES). For those of you who do not know, MEChA is a racist organization which advocates the “Reconquista” or the re-conquest of the American Southwest for Mexico. This goal is explicitly stated in their founding document “El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan,” which says “For La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.” Translation: “For The Race, everything. Outside The Race, nothing.” They also advocate expulsion and ethnic cleansing of non-chicanos from Aztlan once the Reconquista has occurred. As for SAAC, both the BSU & MEChA are considered among their member clubs. What about SPACES? Check out its logo (which just happens to be the black power fist) for an idea, or look at the groups they claim to be their core constituency (MEChA, QPOC, & KP), or consider the reports and publications they produce.
TO THIS I SAY NO! I oppose this $10,000 mural commissioned by the UCSD chancellor’s office, the department of arts and humanities and the Chicano studies program forcing its political agenda down my throat. If we are going to play tit for tat, when you don’t support my free speech, why should I support your mural?
As for the painter of the mural, Mario Torero, he happens to be a raging leftist, and most of his art contains blatant displays of political bias. He also supports the idea of Aztlan and MEChA.
However, if you are one of the supporters of free speech, then I think you’d find it reasonable to permit rotating art exhibits at UCSD representing a variety of ethnic, religious, and other beliefs… Oh wait, we already do that, just walk into Geisel Library and check out its art exhibits, or go to the Cross Cultural Center, or to the University Art Gallery located at the Old Student Center.
• We demand Chancellor Fox and the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and the Academic Senate mandate a diversity sensitivity requirement for every undergraduate student to take an African-American studies, Ethnic Studies, and Gender Studies before they graduate from UC San Diego.
How would this be relevant to a future career?
• We demand the programs and departments such as OASIS, Campus Community Centers, Ethnic Studies, Critical Gender Studies, CLAH, and African American Studies Minor amongst others continue to have solid funding for the work they do in retaining African American students and educating the campus as a whole.
If there is a demand for the programs, then petition for them through the process that already exists.
• We demand the University implements, maintains and fully funds BSU’s Student Initiated Yield Programs.
What entitles you to more funding than other student organizations?
• Stipend for Student Volunteers – students deserves compensation for the hard work they do that the University should be doing.
• We demand that the Chancellor’s Office offers more campus-wide support for the African-American students on this campus, as well as the other historically underrepresented and under-served communities on this campus.
• We demand the University provide the African-American community with a temporary location for a safe space on campus while the African-American Resource Center is being planned and constructed.
This is the third time you’ve demanded a safe place on campus. Please cite the last time there was a violent hate crime against African-Americans at UCSD.
• We demand the University provide free tutors for the African-American students who seek academic support. This can be structured similar to that of the Athletic Department’s services to Athletes.
• We demand a response!
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
This story has been a horrible (if, sadly, unsurprising) case of media malpractice, as they flocked to it like sharks smelling blood and started deliberately slanting the narrative in plain sight. (UC Student Regent Jess Cheng’s (UCI) blog is especially bad.) Most of the interviews were with carefully selected aggrieved students, and their opinions were cited as fact. In contrast, the real attitude toward “diversity” on campus can be inferred from the school’s heavy emphasis on promoting Black History Month. Heck, BHM “shrines” to President Obama have been displayed on campus for the last 3 years.
Meanwhile, the affected media organizations at UCSD are unable to defend themselves–they can’t print new issues without any funding.
As for an update on the UCSD Black History Month Celebrations, the highlight appeared to be a shrine to President Barack Obama in Price Center East.
This isn’t the only adulation of President Obama on campus. A quick glance at the Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resource Center reveals their love of Obama’s logo.
Actual events for Black History Month included art exhibits, lectures, film festivals, Diversity & Affirmative Action Awards Ceremony, a Black History Luncheon with another stereotypical menu of “gumbo, fried chicken, collard greens, and red velvet cake”, musical performances and concerts, free admission to Birch Aquarium, a Black Staff Association luncheon as a “fundraising buffet, filled with traditional soul food dishes; collards, peach cobbler, and fried chicken just to name a taste,” and even a play in honor of President Barack Obama. By the way, that’s just weekly celebrations. The month-long commemoration also includes film exhibits and art displays throughout campus. In light of this, the BSU’s aggressiveness toward the UCSD administration is sensational. Have they no gratitude at all?
We have to send a shout out to students at Clemson University, for throwing a “Gangsta Party” on MLK Day. As we stated before, these parties are common; they happen at almost every university and target every ethnic group.
The Koala website weighed in on the situation, remarking:
“February 20th, 2010: Compton Cookout: The Koala would like to condemn the organizers of the Compton Cookout. If history has shown us anything, you need more black people at your party to have enough black-on-black violence to actually justify the name “Compton.” Shame on you. SHAME.
February 19th, 2010: Back Issues: We stopped fulfilling certain stereotypes about African Americans and updated our back issues! If you’d like to contact us, call us on our hotline: 404-MF-KOALA
The backlash against the Koala continues in full force as Facebook lights up in discussion and venting. See angry group #1, angry group #2, angry group #3; yet another group, “UCSD Students Outraged About the Compton Cookout,” was shut down because it got too unruly. Supporters of free speech are encouraged to join this group, this other group, or this other other group.
Unfortunately, the creator of the Compton Cookout Part Deux (different guy from the original Compton Cookout) event on Facebook has been cowed into submission by all the threats, slander, and hatred directed toward him.
Also, a Facebook event was created for the purpose of calling and confronting the editor of the Koala, Kris Gregorian. This was taken down after a few hours.
SRTV (Student Run TV) has been forced to shut down until AS President Gupta allows them to reopen. In the meantime, several SRTV staff members have formed TRTV (Triton Run TV) wherein all content is shot and edited without AS equipment. Anything that was aired on SRTV cannot be placed on the new site.
Want to know another interesting thing about this media funding shutdown? It just so happens to NOT affect the new toy of the UCSD Women’s Center, the magazine “Diversity Now.” They’re currently taking subscriptions for their March issue. Below is their event description.
“Are you a multicultural UCSD student? Interested in art and writing? DIVERSITY NOW! wants you!
DIVERSITY NOW! is a magazine which dedicates itself to the multicultural experiences of the UCSD community. We are currently looking for submissions from people who are multiracial and/or multiethnic, as well as people who have developed multicultural understandings of the world by living, studying or volunteering abroad. Submissions can include: articles, personal essays, photographs, poems, and more!
Entries due by March 1, 2010. For more information, or if you would like to make a submission, please contact Jennifer at the UCSD Women’s Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Something just seems fishy to me…
Back to Triton Run TV (TRTV). AS President Utsav Gupta held a web address concerning his actions in ordering the media organization funding freeze. He also outlined his opinions in the UCSD Guardian article “Campus Reacts to Racial Slur.” He even goes so far to compare his current actions against free speech with his goals and subsequent actions helping expanding non-affiliate free speech rights. Neither of these however has anything to do with protecting free speech of media organizations.
President Gupta’s arguments have several errors.
1) “The students that are hurt” do not bear the right to shut down alternative points of view. THIS IS CENSORSHIP! I find many, many things that get student money quite offensive, but I recognize their rights to free speech and University funding. They must also recognize that there are things that offend them and/or express a foreign point of view that nevertheless deserve funding.
2) Legally, the Supreme Court has already ruled in “University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth” (2000) that student government organizations at state universities that make decisions affecting mandatory student fee funding “… must distribute those funds to student groups … on a viewpoint neutral basis.”
3) As much as you would like to say this is about how the students want their money spent, it’s not. By the way, thanks for using this illusion of choosing funding for student media. When it comes to your funding freeze, I hope it ends, but The California Review will not tolerate your making censorship a precondition for that.
4) I look forward to your committee meeting which I do hope is 100% public on student media funding this week, although it is interesting to see that after the BSU’s ranting a room was made available within fifteen minutes, while you can’t seem to figure out whether the meeting will be on Thursday (2/25) or Friday (2/26) (as your video address on Sunday made clear). Pick a day, pick a time, and I hope the notification goes out to the entire campus population.
Help and support for free speech continues to flow in.
Surprisingly, UC President Mark Yudof, while disturbed by the Compton Cookout, supported the initial statement of Vice Chancellor Rue regarding allowing “more speech, not less.” No updates from his end in the last few days though.
The editorial article by the UCSD Guardian discussed the event in terms similar to our first update. In it they express their opposition to the decision to curtail free speech and outline the cost breakdown for student funds. “The Koala receives about $7,000 per year for printing. That’s about 30 cents per student. In total, media orgs will receive $53,000 in 2009-10. If this is actually about our fees, let’s consider where else they’re going. Non-media orgs will receive $440,000. On top of that, “tradition events” — long-standing org fixtures — will receive $105,000. KSDT Radio will receive $11,000. Six beer gardens will cost over $90,000. The Sun God Festival will receive $550,000 — part of which may be sucked up by increased security. Perhaps, being a newspaper, we’re biased, but we feel journalism on campus is worth at least one-tenth of Sun God — even if that includes the kind that offends us.”
On Monday, the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties issued its official statement on UCSD’s reaction. An excerpt reads: “Respect for the First Amendment is essential in the struggle for racial equality. The First Amendment exists to prevent a tyranny of the majority against minority speech. The First Amendment protected the speech of the civil rights movement against state repression, as it protects everyone’s speech today. We commend UCSD for speaking out strongly against racial bias and urge you to respect the First Amendment in doing so.”
UPDATE (10 am, 2/23/10): The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has written a letter to AS President Utsav Gupta and UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox demanding they lift the “moratorium” on funding for media organizations, put SRTV back on the air, follow the standing rules for punishment for SRTV, and stop investigating student organizations and publications. They also have an article up on their website
Finally, a “teach-in” is also scheduled for Wednesday, February 24 in Price Center East Ballroom from noon to 2 pm in order to “explore how such incidents continue to occur today and to discuss the importance of mutual respect and civility on our campus.”
Stay tuned for more updates.