Today is the day that the UC San Diego administration set aside for a campus-wide discussion of the racist Compton Cookout party hosted by UCSD students on the weekend of February 13, but in the eight days since the administration announced today’s teach-in, events on campus have spiraled far out of the university’s control.
Tensions surrounding the aftermath of the party, high from the moment that reports about it first surfaced, rose dramatically last Thursday, when students on UCSD’s campus television station broadcast a show that mocked the protests and black students in general. No recording of the broadcast has yet surfaced, but one student was quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune saying that the participants in the broadcast had “called us niggers, and called us ungrateful, and ghetto and dumb.”
The station that ran the show is run by the UCSD student government, and the broadcast implicated other student media as well — the students who made the bigoted on-air comments were staffers for The Koala, a campus humor magazine with a history of racist speech. In response to the broadcast, UCSD’s student government president, Utsav Gupta, pulled the station off the air and implemented an immediate freeze on outlays to all student media. Gupta called the freeze a temporary “time out” while student government re-assessed its policies.
In the meantime the UCSD BSU has presented a list of demands to the campus administration, while students have called on other California campuses to stage solidarity actions today. A rally at UC Irvine is going on at this hour, with much more to come over the course of the day. Stay tuned…
1:30 pm California time | The situation is rapidly evolving, but here’s what I’ve learned so far. The UCSD BSU held a press conference before the administration’s “teach-in,” and that press conference was followed by a rally that turned into a march. When the official teach-in began, students staged a walkout, urging attendees to leave the administration-controlled space and join a student-led teach-in outside on the lawn. Reports from Twitter suggest that everyone left the official event to join the student one, and photos suggest that the student event, still going on now, is huge. Search “UCSD” on Twitter for a high volume of powerful tweets from many many participants in today’s events, and check back here later for my full report.
5:00 pm | Gathering news coverage and on-the-scene reports. More soon.
Thursday morning | So many things to say about this event, and its implications for the future of student organizing. Here’s one of them.
Thursday afternoon | Here’s my take on the free speech issues involved in the current UCSD crisis.