UCSD Students Condemn ‘Hateful' Speech

Chancellor meets with marchers

The racial unrest at UCSD was on full view again Tuesday, as medical students and graduate students marched on campus condemning free speech that they see as "hateful".

They got a sympathetic audience with the university's chancellor.

From the notorious 'Compton Cookout', to 'Koala's' provocative backlash and a scheduled 'Compton Cookout, Part 2', UCSD seems anything but a welcoming melting pot to many students.

"What we're marching for today will hopefully make UCSD continue to be a better place for everybody," medical student Jacob Bailey told a slogan-chanting, sign-waving throng of about 100 demonstrators who gathered on Library Walk during the noon hour. "You shouldn't be able to say 'Compton lynching'. Or what is this about people going on (student-run) TV and calling people ungrateful (n----s)?  That's hateful!"

The students say the school needs some attitude adjustments.

"We need a safe place, a multicultural center, where students of all races, all colors ... anyone who feels marginalized can meet, can congregate, can feel safe and feel comfortable," fellow medical student Mohammed Raad said.

They were preaching not to a choir, but a community torn over satire turned so snarky that its critics see it as blatantly racist and bigoted.

It started with an off-campus, ghetto-themed party on President's Day hosted by members of more than one fraternity, to mock Black History Month.

The event was defended in kind, involving the 'N-word' on a closed-circuit campus telecast by members of Koala, a rowdy campus publication that's among 33 student-run media whose funding has been suspended by the Associated Students' leadership.

"They want to insult and offend everyone; that's fine," said UCSD senior Alec Weisman, editor of "California Review", a political magazine whose ASB funding is being withheld pending the further tweaking of policies governing student media. "But they've never advocated to harm or hurt an individual."

"It's not acceptable to make fun of any race.  I don't care what race you are.  It's not acceptable," retorted medical student Shonte McKenzie.

Leaders of the fraternities involved in the Compton Cookout have issued apologies.

"Apologies are not enough," said medical student Juliet Okoroh.  "We cannot repeat history all the time. We need to make a change. So that's why we're marching."

The march eventually ended outside the chancellor's office, where demonstrators made demands that included a fully staffed and accredited Dept. of Ethnic Studies -- a prospect that administrators already are setting into motion.

In a cordial gathering on the steps leading to her office UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox addressed the atmosphere that gave rise to all the unrest:

"I can say as well that the principles of community have been violated,” she said. "And we're going to do everything that we can within the law to find out who are the perpetrators of this pain and to do something about it… you have my pledge for that."

As whoops of approval died down, she left them with this: "Not only does the campus have to be safe, but it has to be one in which we can all pull together. And you've shown today that we can do exactly that."

For two hours beginning at noon Wednesday, administrators and faculty members will conduct a teach-in on diversity and cultural sensitivity in the East Ballroom at the Price Center.

It's part of a campus wide campaign, complete with buttons and posters, titled "Racism: Not in Our Community".

Related stories:

Racial Tensions Boil at UCSD
UCSD to Investigate Controversial TV Segment (video)
UCSD Students Angry Over N-Word (video)
'Compton Cookout' Flares Into Political Fireball
'Compton Cookout' Creates Campus Uproar
Outrage at UCSD Over 'Compton Cookout'

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