From sunny and charming La Jolla, California, I bring rather daunting and implicating news about the attack on free speech at UCSD. For the past several weeks, UCSD students have faced ramifications of a situation taken way too far. From the Compton Cookout to the Associated Students of UCSD’s injunction on cutting media organization funds to the hanging of a noose in Geisel Library to the display of a Ku Klux Klan hood on the Theodor Seuss Geisel statue, a lot of things have transpired on my campus for the worst. Yet, the only media outlet at UCSD exposing the truth behind these calamities is The California Review, the conservative paper whose editor-in-chief, Alec Weisman, is attributed for such excellent and fair reporting of the incidents.
The controversy began with the Compton Cookout party, which was held off campus in mid-February and hosted by DJ Jiggaboo Jones, and was intended to mock Black History Month. The event called for guys and gals to wear gold teeth and "ghetto" fashion. The drive-by media fails to account for the fact that the host, Jones, was black, stating that “racist” members from various UCSD fraternities were instrumental in causing the Compton Cookout. Yet, the university made a big deal about the event, sending out several e-mails denouncing the incident. Nevertheless, matters only got worst as the Associated Students went after our infamous satiric paper, The Koala, and subsequently imposed a collective punishment on all UCSD student-run media organizations.
The Koala, which is a publication that mocks all groups, is known for its outrageous material. The Associated Students of UCSD first got on The Koala’s case after they mocked the death of a UCSD pole-vaulter in early fall quarter. Furthermore, The Koala mocked the reaction to the Compton Cookout by praising it and calling members of the Black Student Union, “ungrateful n------,” on student run television where The Koala broadcasts a show that follows the same style as their paper.
Liberals on campus are arguing that The Koala’s “offensive speech” which pokes fun at groups on campus should have their speech restricted because this form of speech threatens their "well-being." The Koala follows the same satirical style as many shows on Comedy Central, but do you see liberals calling for its shutdown? On February 18, 2010, the Associated Students placed a moratorium on funds for media organizations, which has spurred many on campus to fight to protect free speech. Basically, all the student-run newspapers suffered collective punishment from the action of the Associated Students regardless of their past actions. Assistance from FIRE and the ACLU has successfully encouraged Chancellor Marye Ann Fox to reinstate funds for media organizations. Both FIRE and the ACLU have noted that the UCSD administration will face subsequent legal action with the help of consul if they do not reinstate funding.
As a response to the Compton Cookout and The Koala’s exercise of individual albeit controversial opinion, the Black Student Union drafted a list of 32 demands for the university to adopt. They called for Chancellor Marye Ann Fox to implement various “racial improvements,” along with citing their concerns about their well-being. Other demands included a separate space for black students to convene peacefully, the necessity for an African-American and Chicano studies minor, and a “holistic approach” when it comes to university admissions (a.k.a. racial preferences), among many other demands. As of March 3rd, 2010, the UCSD Administration has acquiesced to pressures from the Black Student Union and is working to implement their demands.
Conservatives, liberals, and apathetic students at UCSD I talked with in various classes and gatherings were appalled by this list, which gives great preferential treatment to one group of students. Higher education should emphasize merit, initiative, and talent, not promote preferences based on one’s race. There are plenty of minority students here at UCSD who do not rely on the color of their skin to get ahead. Enough of this manufactured racial divide which divides us and creates lowered standards.
To fellow conservatives college students: I urge you, as a fellow activist, to not let liberals dominate your campus, tell you lies, and undermine you because you hold conservative ideas. Keep a copy of the Constitution in your pocket, and put it to use when someone tries to infringe upon your rights. There has to be a variety of opinions expressed on college campuses, and not just liberalism. Expose the truth, and do not let anyone deter you from preserving America's values. If the American laws are so racist and unjust as the Left would have you believe, then why do people flock to our nation from all around the world—legally and illegally? This fine nation has afforded equal opportunities to everyone regardless of their nationality, race, gender, and viewpoints to pursue their own personal goals, dreams, and aspirations. Please do not forget that!
Gabriella Hoffman is a conservative student activist at the University of California - San Diego