Another Letter to the Editor

While we work on another update, we’ll leave you with another letter to the editor.

Letter to the Editor
Raymond Michel, UCSD 2011

Everyone, I’m certain, knows about the situation by now, even if only marginally. If you’re reading this, then you know the primary cause for concern is simply Free Speech. There are those who believe that this is an infringement on our rights, and others who believe that free speech is the cause of concern. Since I know most of the people reading this will probably be for the former, I want to touch a little bit on the latter.

People are pissed. Rightfully so? You be the judge. But despite the actions taken by both sides (and ensuing actions, whatever they might be), it all comes down to this: There is no government-sanctioned filter on our mouthes, protected by the First Amendment. To the group insulted by the CC and all its affiliated actions, they’re infuriated that free speech allowed for it. And I will be honest, a few of the actions taken by the side of the students have been just as irrational and out of place as many of the actions taken by the insulted. I won’t point out which ones they are, those are for you to decide based upon your values. It’s these irrational actions, however, that are causing more and more strife on the issue. From both sides. There may not be a filter on our mouthes, but there damn well should be some sort of filter on our brains. This is not to say that you need be Politically Correct — not at all. That would be an infringement on free speech. But as people of UCSD, we are renowned for being one of the best colleges/universities in the country. Shouldn’t we prove that by being able to mitigate our words, so that we can better a situation, rather than simply produce a response? As they scream heresy and racism, what good does it do to scream back fascism and anger? Sinking to their level of irrational demands and purely emotional outrage will do nothing but prolong this situation further, and is the reason why our free speech is at stake. Because we abuse it so by letting the lack of a filter on our mouthes be an excuse for a lack of a filter on our brains.

The initial response to the CC was in no way acceptable. The actions made by a number of the parties yelling racism is a solid example of the issues at hand, and is a large cause of outrage for those in support of Free Speech — and understandably so. Irrational outbursts, misconstrued accusations and pre-emptive settlements have caused more and more concern for those who are worried about what is going to happen to their rights. However, these actions will only perpetuate if we continue to feed them on their level. The best way I can describe this is with a childhood classroom. Those who are acting like irrational children, class clowns, they do it for attention. They do it because there’s something they want, and they want it done their way. Do you reason with the kid? Come to some agreement, to get an irrational person to suddenly become rational? No. And if you do, those actions continue. If you sink to their level and become irrational, deject that filter on your brain that makes you the adult — the teacher, the leader — then they have no reason to do anything but continue on with their behavior. They act out because it is the only way they know to get a response. We want to protect Free Speech, and as of right now we still have it as a very valid option of fighting this issue. But this means we need to use those filters on our brains, those parts of us that allow us to be thinkers, engineers, writers, mathematicians, and make a place for ourselves in the world using the intelligence and mental faculty we have. We didn’t come to UCSD so that we could get in a children’s fight and let the “adults” — who are simply pandering to the loudest child — make the decision. 

We need to show how we can think, speak, act, and portray our thoughts in a way that lets everyone know we have our rights to Free Speech. That there IS nothing that can be done to take that away from us, and if it is, then we will continue to show them — intelligently and without sinking to an irrational level — that it is not a valid option. I hear talk about revolts, riots… these are nothing but perpetuators of the situation. Mob mentalities, less cognitive thought… this is essentially the reaction that was presented to us in reaction to the Compton Cookout, to the acts of affiliated students, and to all who support Free Speech. This is the continued reaction from a majority of those who are threatening what we hold dear. What good are we to defend ourselves if we use the same crude weapons they are? There are many other ways to show that we mean business, without descending down to their level. We don’t need the approval of the “adults” — we need to show them that we have our decision, and that they have absolutely no say on it. We are a university of intellectuals, leaders and educated peoples. We are the forefront of the new generation, the world to come. It is our decisions that will build our lives. Shouldn’t we do it in a way that shows we could take the higher ground; that we were the ones who cast away useless emotional heresy and irrational outbursts to conquer an issue of rights and liberties? 

Alan Kors had a great statement about the situation at hand: “What universities are saying by these codes, special protections and double standards to women, to blacks, to Hispanics, to gay and lesbian students, is: ‘You are too weak to live with freedom. You are too weak to live with the First Amendment.’ If someone tells you you are too weak to live with freedom, they have turned you into a child.” We are not children. We will not act like children in response to this situation, lest we wish for them to treat us as such. There IS NO government-sanctioned filter on our mouths in any way, protected by the First Amendment. We SHOULD use that lack of a filter wisely, so that we can protect the First Amendment and prevent any infractions upon our rights. Let us not abuse it in our protection and give them a reason to take it away.

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10 comments

  1. Good post! I have quoted and credited you on the (t)Guardian. I really, really appreciate Kors’ quote.

  2. Tuscaloosa · ·

    Some lively discussion is taking place on the UCSD Students Against The BSU’s Demands FB group. Namely, a group of Stanford students have decided to bring their awesome wisdom to the poor racist souls of UCSD:

    **Meet Tumisang Kabo Madigele. This person is apparently a Stanford ’13 student who enjoys spending their evenings going onto UCSD students’ facebook groups and posting helpful comments like:
    I love how you guys act like it wasn’t triggered by anything, just randomz black kids making demands. lol. too funny UCSD. too too funny!

    lol.yea one stupid sign saying “compton lynching” right?lmao. LIKE I SAID, i don’t know how you all were raised or how you joke around at home or with your friends, but yea… oh and like i said, its funny there is more legible black students to get into Stanford than there is to get into fuckin UCSD. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? seriously? REALLY? bahahaha! Ur funny girl!

    Lmao again. I don’t even know why you all are so scared, im sure you know that just because of how America operates, blacks have never gotten anything easily(ie presenting a list of demands) so this is just an opportunity for a lot of people to just rant and rave and say racist stuff. it was A JOKE!gawsh!inapropro! yal gona start tossin around n-… See Morewords too lol. calling people ‘ungrateful’. this has been thoroughly entertaining. goodnight. and don’t worry, i doubt your campus will be flooded with any black folk ANYTIME SOON, especially at the rate yal are going. nooses..smh. nytie

    **How did the Stanford admissions office accept this dude?
    Oh wait, there are MORE Stanford students posting! This gets even better:

    Milton Achelpohl: The notion that the only way to gain more diversity ie a larger black student representation on campus is to lower standards is not only blatantly ignorant but glaringly near-sighted. There are other ways to attack more “qualified” african american students to your fine institution beyond simply allowing “ineligible” s…tudents in. Perhaps by instituting programs that promote diversity and allow for a further support of the african american students who constitute 2% of the UCSD student population. Perhaps then the campus would not appear to be the “most racist in the nation”, which it may very well arguably be. To my knowledge there is currently nothing of this nature in the news anywhere else in the US. So please, rather than deflecting blame, or avoiding the problem and refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of your fellow students and peers’ demands, look for solutions and see beyond ignorant and easy solutions to a deep-set and real problem.

    **Glad to see that a bunch of Stanford freshmen have the solution to UCSD’s woes! Also glad to see that Mr. Achelpohl’s PRESTIGIOUS education has taught him how to use logic: “Perhaps then the campus would not appear to be the ‘most racist in the nation’, which it may very well arguably be. To my knowledge there is currently nothing of this nature in the news anywhere else in the US.” Yowza, simply because there’s nothing in the news like this anywhere else in the US (wrong; look at the other UCs, Missouri, Wisconsin- Eau Claire, etc.) means that UCSD MUST be ‘the most racist [campus] in the nation’!

    **Hey! ANOTHER Stanford student; what is this, a party?
    [In response to Jeff
    I will now judge all students of Stanford based on this thread. Thanks! /stays away from Stanford]:

    Kevin Roberts [Stanford ‘13]
    Jeff, please don’t come to Stanford. You would not be admitted anyway.

    Jeff
    Kevin: funny, since I did get in but went to UCSD instead. Good personal attack, though.

    **UCSD Students: Officially OWN Stanford students in debate.

  3. Metacomet · ·

    Follow-up!

    More Stanford students have come to save up from our stupidity! Note that this next one is in response to this statement by a UCSD student: “The problem with all these statistics about the percentage of black people who are admitted to UCSD that choose to attend is that there are SO MANY VARIABLES that could affect their choice. Did they get into a better school? Are they interested in sports or majors not offered here? Did they get a scholarship somewhere else? Saying it’s about anything race-related is absolutely baseless.”

    “Laurel Frazier [Stanford ’13]
    um check this…Stanford is ranked 4th by US News and 2nd in the WORLD by multiple international standards. so if you are REALLY going to argue that UCSD has more qualified students than the stanford ones, im simply gonna remind myself that it must the the inferiority that contributes to this. Dont even get me started on what our alum, including BLACK alum, have done.

    Also, the fact that you find these acts of racism and intolerance no big deal PROVES the need for most of these demands. NOOSES and KKK Hoods are no joke, those are threats considering what they mean in african american history. maybe if you picked up a book you would know that. get off ur privileged high horse and recognize that blacks are jut as capable as any one else to do anything, including the presidency.”

    **Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Is it the inability to understand an argument (nobody was arguing the UCSD has more qualified students than Stanford, they were just pointing out that you have to control for other variables; apparently some Stanford students can’t understand that)? Is it the hilarious accusation that UCSD students are more “privileged” while at the same time claiming that Stanford is more PRESTIGIOUS? Is it the tiresome strawman arguments and condescending tone? Who knows, but it’s sure evidence that Stanford has super-brilliant, awesomely smart students that are just too amazing for UCSD!

    I couldn’t make this up even if I tried. This is just too funny.

  4. Cochise · ·

    Consider some of the amusing points here:

    -Stanford students telling UCSD students that the UCSD students are more “privileged” then they are.

    -Stanford students awake at 2 in the morning have nothing better to do than log onto UCSD FB groups and insult UCSD students.

    -Stanford students appear to be incapable of correct grammar/spelling/engaging in logical arguments. In fact, based on the logic used by these Stanford students, it’s entirely for us to extrapolate from a few instances (their hilariously bad arguments) and conclude that all Stanford students are incapable of logical thought.

    Can the Stanford Review be notified of this? And can someone make sure to save a copy of these arguments in case some of the authors delete their posts? Also, props to the UCSD students for their well-reasoned and passionate arguments.

  5. UCSD could in fact increase its black student yield without compromising standards… by pulling students away from Berkeley, UCLA, etc. But what’s the point? This is a zero-sum game. The “good” news is that there’s already such a large bidding war for academically strong black students that UCSD’s entrance won’t make much of a difference.

  6. I’m really sick of people distorting the term “diversity” to mean “a larger black student representation.” I really believe people should try looking up a term sometimes before defining it online.

    Interestingly, US News ranks colleges by “diversity index” (ie, how DIVERSE the student population is ethnically, not based on whether a single group is arbitrarily large enough).

    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/national-campus-ethnic-diversity

    UCSD is ranked #19, in the entire nation (or at least on this list), tied with a few other schools, including our neighbors at SDSU, with a diversity index of 0.62. Standford is at #6 with an index of 0.68. The highest in the country is Rutgers with 0.74.

    The most diverse UC school on the list, coming in at #5? You guessed it! Riverside.

  7. Umm, since when did this practice become statistically sound?
    “Students who did not identify themselves as members of any demographic group were classified as whites who are non-Hispanic. ” – US News

    Diversity data is pretty bullshit in general, especially when it comes to multiracial individuals. People declare whatever they want to declare. A LOT OF PEOPLE LIE. And anyone who declines to state should be referenced in data extrapolations, but US News clearly shuffled them into the White category. There’s no truly ethical and accurate way to collect this data.

  8. I basically agree with you, Person. But since there are a lot of people using statistical percentages (1.3%) all over the place right, I think it’s somewhat important to put such numbers in perspective – even if the numbers themselves have sketchy origins.

    I didn’t really look at the Methodology before posting that, I admit. People have complained about the methodologies US News uses for all its rankings. I’m not surprised these would be as sketchy.

    But, as always, such data does depend on how people respond, the categories available, and how those categories may be grouped together. You’ll notice most of UCSD numbers split Hispanic into Chicano and Latino/Other Spanish, just to make sure the Hispanic numbers don’t look too big – further justifying, in their eyes, special treatment and programs for this group.

  9. Hey, no problem Zoom. I’m not criticizing you, I just severely oppose racial data collection from surveys. I actually work in an Admissions office, and on the applications students self-report their GRE scores. We later verify them through ETS reports, and essentially disregard the self-reported scores. Self-reported data is horribly inaccurate. Don’t ask me why there is a section that asks you to self-report your GPA and GRE scores, I have no idea.

  10. Don’t worry, I didn’t take it personally. I mean, I completely 100% agree with the criticism of US News’s methodology. I have extremely mixed feeling about such fuzzy statistics in general, especially when more specific categories (like say Cambodian and Laotian) get lumped together into one broader vague category (Asian).

    I think though the biggest reason people tend to provide inaccurate or incomplete information on surveys (ethnic or scores, etc) is because they think the information will be used to evaluate them individually in some way, either positively or detrimentally. And with admissions they often are (in the case of academic criteria like SATs, of course this makes sense). I’m not opposed to collecting ethnic data per se in a perfect world where such labels have no impact, because the result can provide an interesting demographic picture. What worries me though are the multitude of ways statistics can be manipulated and utilized to justify all sorts of unfair or just plain irrational policy – based often on poorly thought out grouping or comparisons.

    But yeah, people forget that the collection of such data is hardly a precise science. Just look at all the people across the country with like 1/16th Native American that, with no real Native American cultural background, still take advantage of the classification system for personal gain.

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