A group of students at the University of California San Diego held a racist “Compton Cookout” last weekend, billed as a commemoration of Black History Month. The party’s invitation promised “chicken, coolade, and of course Watermelon,” and encouraged partygoers to dress and act “ghetto.” (The full invitation, even more repulsive than these excerpts indicate, can be found here.)
Members of the Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) fraternity were allegedly involved in planning the party, which took place off campus. Local and national officers in the fraternity have since condemned the party, and denied that it was an officially sponsored frat event.
The university is investigating the incident, and planning a teach-in on “mutual respect and civility” to be held next Wednesday.
More than 70% of UCSD’s student body is of color, but only 2% is black.
February 21 Update | The UCSD Black Student Union has presented the university’s chancellor with a statement on the party and its aftermath, saying that a “toxic environment” exists “for African-American students on this campus.” The statement claims that on Friday night a group of students on the campus’s student-run television statement defended the party and used a racial epithet to describe those who have criticized it.
The BSU’s statement notes that the incidents surrounding the party have “has marked UC San Diego as a racist university,” hampering efforts to recruit and retain students of color. It calls for “those students involved in the shameful racist acts” to be suspended from the university, and presents a list of other demands. (I received the BSU’s statement through a friend’s Facebook post, but will link to it directly when it is made publicly available.)
The UCSD BSU will be holding a general meeting tomorrow evening, and members of the group are calling on campuses across California to hold solidarity actions in conjunction with UCSD’s planned Wednesday teach-in.
I’ll update this post further when I have more details — if you have information on the situation at UCSD, relevant links, or news about solidarity actions, post them here or email me directly.