Alec Weisman, Editor-in-Chief
Contributions by California Review Editorial Board
On the evening of February 24, 2010, I attended the UCSD Associated Students Senate official meeting. While there, the Associated Students attempted to stifle the First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press for me and other media organizations at the University of California, San Diego.
The footage is below, with only minor editing. (I list and explain the few cuts I made.)
The first two videos consist of BSU members and their supporters airing their grievances to the AS.
The third video consists of the Saltman Quarterly’s abdication of free speech and more airing of grievances by members of the BSU and allied organizations.
Then Peter (a California Review staffer) gets up to speak in opposition of the AS’s unconstitutional actions. I follow with a brief statement, and defer the rest of my time to Kris Gregorian, Editor of the Koala.
Kris Gregorian continues his antics at the AS meeting. But what do you expect, it’s the Koala.
At 5:21 in this video, I walk over to Peter (my staffer) to call him away. Nine seconds later, a girl associated with MEChA and the BSU hits me and my camera and then freaks out on me. I was at least an arm’s length away from her, and she leans under Peter to hit me.
I then get furious that they are trying to violate my freedom of the press AGAIN! and ask the AS if I am allowed to film at the event, to which they say yes…
And then, at 7:03, they change their mind and claim I actually don’t have the right to film them. They also threaten to call security to take me away.
I turn off my camera, and thirty seconds later I am told by another student that the AS is wrong. I then turn my camera back on and tell the AS that I am filming again and that they are wrong.
I tell them they can either call security or show me where in the law I am prohibited from filming the meeting. They call a recess for 5 minutes in response to try to find a way to stop me from filming.
This is the break during the forum. I discuss this issue with multiple people. You hear me ranting about the three violations of my First Amendment rights by individuals associated with the BSU, MSU, and AS, as well as me being angry about being hit by the girl.
A girl also approaches Peter to talk. I cut out his number and last name, and I also cut out bits near the end of the video where I hear the phone number from other students.
After AS resumes their proceedings, they agree that I have the right to film the public meeting.
An AS council member attempts to use the girl’s assault on me as an example of a disruption, but this is dismissed.
They start discussion of the media funding freeze.
The AS considers extending the media funding freeze. The Sixth College Senator, John Condello, does his best to argue on behalf of respecting the First Amendment and the media organizations. Our hat goes out to him, and I know who my new favorite AS Council member is. When all this is over I want to give him an award for standing up to tyranny.
AS VP of Finance & Resources Peter Benesch then argues why “feeling safe” is more important than the First Amendment.
This video opens with AS admitting that they are targeting the Koala by redoing the media guidelines and the media freeze, but cannot admit that because of legal reasons. AS President Utsav Gupta knows he can’t say that on camera, so he just gives a thumbs up.
They vote on the media organization freeze. Only four members of the Associated Students could be heard to vote in support of free speech.
SRTV then made its appeal to be reinstated.
SRTV continues its attempt to be reinstated. SRTV (temporarily TRTV) manager Thomas Dadourian makes his plea to get back to filming.
Campus Wide Senator Bryant Pena questions the SRTV manager. AS President Gupta voices his opposition.
At 7:30, SRTV manager Thomas Dadourian even asks AS to fire him so that SRTV can continue running.
18 seconds later, Campus Wide Senator Desiree Prevo speaks up: “As a student of color on this campus that has been continuously marginalized, your voice is only silent temporarily. My voice is silent permanently on this campus. So I’m just asking you this, please consider more time. Your voice is silenced temporarily. I’m silenced permanently because of the color of my skin. So consider, just a little more time. That’s all I’m asking.”
A person would think we were still living in Jim Crow Alabama from statements like this. The media and the BSU have blown this issue tremendously out of proportion, and now free speech is in chains at UCSD.
In the final video, despite all of SRTV manager Thomas Dadourian’s arguments, the AS remains opposed to the reinstatement of SRTV.
To show your support for free speech, please come to the forum on the fourth floor of Price Center East at 8 pm today (Thursday 2/25).
UPDATE: UTSAV ADMITS HIS INTENTION IS CENSORSHIP!!! (9:15 am, 2/25/10)
UPDATE 2: WE RECEIVED COPIES OF THE EMAILS THAT UC BERKELEY AND THE UCSD GRADUATE STUDENT ASSOCIATION SENT OUT REGARDING THE CONTROVERSY (12:45pm, 2/25/10)
The proposed graduate student petition claims that opponents of the actions taken by the Administration “will continue to hide behind legal rights, such as free speech, to justify actions and rhetoric that prolongs a long history of racism in which black culture and heritage is treated as their private property.” They later add that members of the BSU “face physical threats from supremacist groups and individuals on campus.” What supremacist groups? What threats? This is an exceptional claim that must be backed with evidence. Until I see it, all I have to go on is my personal, documented (see above) experience of being assaulted by someone supporting the BSU.
Also, in response to a commenter’s question, we would like to clarify that the Chairwoman of the College Republicans, Inez Feltscher, was indeed quoted out of context in this Los Angeles Times article. When asked about intellectual diversity at UCSD, she remarked that there are individual classes that only present an “extreme leftist” viewpoint. That’s very, very far from claiming UCSD as a whole is an “extreme leftist” school, something she doesn’t believe.