Free Speech, Fee Protests, & Deception
March 6, 2010 1 Comment
Alec Weisman, Editor in Chief
On Wednesday, March 3rd, the California Review organized a free speech protest in opposition to the funding freeze. KUSI San Diego covered the protest, and wrote a great article explaining the situation. The Campus Freedom Network picked up on our protest and urged people to attend.
Other media sources have finally began to turn their attention to the free speech aspect of the controversy. The Orion, the independent student newspaper at Chico State, wrote in opposition to the funding freeze while arguing that the student-run media organizations should acquire “financial independence … for dire times such as these.” The blog of the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) explained that even the statements of the Koala have been shown to be protected speech by the Supreme Court. In fact, even the Huffington Post has weighed in with a condemnation of Utsav’s actions, explaining that “When Gupta is allocating funds collected by the state for state purposes, he’s acting as an agent of the government. That means that the State of California, not Utsav Gupta, gets to decide when speech should or should not be funded. Of course, the State of California’s discretion is limited here, too, by its participation in the United States of America and the latter’s Constitution.”
The San Diego News Network wrote a summary about the controversy, while attempting to look at the situation at UCSD from a more balanced perspective. Youth for Western Civilization also weighed in, critiquing the reaction of the media and political correctness. Also, Adam Weinberg from the Leadership Institute visited UCSD last week to cover the free speech controversy.
Later that night, a community forum was held at a San Diego church. Ironically copies of the new issue of the Koala were distributed to attendees by members of the Black Student Union.
On March 4th the Guardian released several more articles regarding the free speech controversy. Aside from featuring an editorial by past editors of the Koala which frankly informs Utsav and the AS that they will fail at defunding the Koala, they also provided an in-depth discussion of the funding freeze, and an editorial board article which attacks King Gupta and the AS Council for the funding freeze. By the way, check out the cartoon in the Guardian’s editorial by Stefany Chen to see my First Amendment visor on one of the characters.
Thursday, March 4th was a day of action where students, faculty and staff were supposed to walk out of class in protest against the fee increases. Strangely enough however, these protests had the support of the administration of UCSD so it appears that this was a lobbying method to gain funds, rather than a real protest. The Coalition for Educational Justice which claimed to be organizing the rally also had a list of demands for the state government.
Unfortunately, most of the “protests” across the state of California ended up hijacked by various leftist organizations marching for their pet projects. A hoax resignation letter was promoted on various websites claiming that UC President Yudof had stepped down so he could study the history of social movements. At UC Irvine, the protests were hijacked by the Muslim Student Association and their support for the Irvine 11. UCSD’s own protest was taken over by the BSU, their allies, and the Ethnic Studies Department.
There was a good deal of graffiti at UCSD leading up to the March 4th Protest, including on the Muir Bio Building, on UCSD stop signs, windows of the Warren Lecture Hall, the Cognitive Science Building, and Pepper Canyon Hall, as well as on all of the new Guardian
“Troll Huts” News stands.
I went out to mock the anger and the excessive seriousness of the event. My sign brought smiles to a lot of faces and allowed people to relax and laugh just long enough for some cute girls to slip me their numbers. You know who you are.
Other students were out protesting the demands of the BSU as well.
However, to really understand where the BSU is coming from, read “The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Good Ally” or “So You Think You’re an Anti-Racist.” These lists will shock you (unless you already buy into their agenda and that of their TAs and professors in more liberal or “tolerant” departments).
After all of the controversy and race baiting however, almost all of the demands of the Black Student Union were accepted by the administration anyway. During the protest the BSU and the administration released a signed agreement to move forward.
“The campus community will put into action the following recommendations, among others:
• Fund for three years BSU-initiated yield programs to increase the diversity of the undergraduate student body; work to diversify the graduate student applicant pool and induct more members into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, which promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.
• Fund the program coordinator position for the African American Studies Minor and Chicano/a Latino/a Arts and Humanities Minor; review requests from the Colleges to establish campuswide diversity curricular requirements for undergraduates, to supplement the requirements already in place in the Colleges.
• Identify appropriate places on campus for the display of outdoor and/or indoor, permanent and/or rotating art representative of underrepresented minority communities; extend the exhibition of the Chicano Legacy mural so that it can be made permanent.
• Create a task force to promote the recruitment, support and retention of underrepresented faculty; make sure that all faculty searches adhere to best practices on diversity considerations; as funding becomes available, reactivate six unfilled faculty positions dedicated to African Diaspora, Indigenous Studies or California Cultures; allocate three new faculty positions over the next three years for hires that will enhance diversity.
• Match funds from student fees for Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service (SPACES), where students collaborate to achieve greater educational equity; meet with students to determine details for African American, Native American and Chicano Resource Centers, and assess patterns of use for these resources; ensure continued supplemental funding for the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS), a learning center at UC San Diego, for the 2010-11 academic year; establish a new Campus Climate Commission to examine the campus climate and the university’s diversity-related efforts, and make additional recommendations for future action; consider additional resources for diversity efforts as part of the Campus Climate Commission that is being established.
Research, Student Conduct and Other Actions :
• Work with interested faculty members to establish an Organized Research Unit (ORU) or Center related to African American, Chicano and Native American-indigenous communities; rewrite the Student Code of Conduct, requiring students to adhere to the Principles of Community to the maximum extent permitted by the First Amendment; identify suitable naming opportunities for colleges and buildings, and review the naming processes; continue to engage both the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the UC San Diego faculty in seeking resolution to the disposition of human remains found as a result of University House excavation efforts.
These actions are only part of the university’s numerous on-going efforts to promote diversity on campus and ensure an open and welcoming environment. Students, staff, faculty and the San Diego community will continue to work together to rebuild and restore the university community.”
The biology department released a statement in condemning the recent racist actions at UCSD and states that “It is our sincere hope that we can and will come together as a single community. We are ONE UCSD”
The provosts of the various colleges sent out an email suggesting ways to help students maintain their grades or withdraw for the rest of the quarter.
The library staff also sent out their own email announcing that “To help maintain a high level of safety, the Libraries have increased patrols throughout Geisel and have increased security staffing.”
Media outlets have begun mocking the outrage and the controversy at UCSD. Gawker mocked the cycle of victimization by the BSU followed by the UCSD administrations’ reaction.
And now on to the real scandal.
Do you remember our earlier comments about the Collective Voice? Well, they printed their own issue on Tuesday, March 2nd. However, they are not a registered media organization through the UCSD Center for Student Involvement (as they are run through SPACES), and they lack the disclaimer that all student media organizations have to print “The publication may have been funded in part or in whole by funds allocated by the ASUCSD. However, the views expressed in this publication are solely those of , its principal members and the authors of the content of this publication. While the publisher of this publication is a registered student organization at UC San Diego, the content, opinions, statements and views expressed in this or any other publication published and/or distributed by are not endorsed by and do not represent the views, opinions, policies, or positions of the ASUCSD, GSAUCSD, UC San Diego, the University of California and the Regents or their officers, employees, or agents. The publisher of this publication bears and assumes the full responsibility and liability for the content of this publication.”
According to the Collective Voice, they are “UCSD’s progressive voice that promotes social unity, justice and awareness across the many communities that exist on the UCSD campus. [It] provides marginalized students of color the empowering opportunity to protect the representation of their identities and beliefs, and report alternative news that is not otherwise covered by mainstream media. The Collective Voice, in partnership with SPACES, allows for the creation of “an empowering dynamic…where UCSD students collaborate to achieve greater educational equity.” It is through this mission that the collective of diverse voices in one newspaper will actively demonstrate an empowering progressive community on the UCSD campus.” Strangely enough however, SPACES is funded by the Associated Students, and although there was a media organization funding freeze (which has prevented the California Review from accessing promised funds), they were able to print. However, their “Budget must be approved by the ASUCSD before funds may be released.”
So what does this imply? Although technically not quite illegal (because their funding was established by a referendum), this shows the Collective Voice is actually AS sponsored speech and shows the AS bias against student-run media organizations. I don’t know about you, but I feel extremely uncomfortable with AS sponsored speech that lacks a disclaimer and claims to represent me.
Weigh in and comment with your opinion of this.