UAW, UCSD Chancellor Clash

Taken from the SDUT:

Campus police had to be called Wednesday to break up a raucous demonstration in the offices of University of California San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.

About 35 students, staff members and supporters marched into Fox’s office shortly after 11 a.m., chanting loudly and stomping their feet in support of Wilda Helen, a recently fired postdoctoral researcher.

Helen, an Indonesian citizen, was fired Jan. 6 from her $43,000-per-year job as a stem cell researcher in UCSD’s bioengineering department. Neither she nor university officials will say why she was dismissed, though Helen has said: “My supervisor has made false allegations about my work.”

As a result of the termination, Helen’s J-1 visa was automatically invalidated and she must leave the country by Sunday.

Under a union contract, Helen is entitled to appeal her firing to an arbitrator. She and her supporters want Fox to expedite the arbitration process so Helen can participate in it.

Fox was not on campus Wednesday, her chief of staff told Helen and the protesters. But, in any case, university officials told the group, the labor contract bars Fox from getting involved. Two United Auto Workers representatives at the rally insisted that nothing in the contract prohibits Fox from getting involved.

Helen’s supporters said before the march that they were prepared to occupy Fox’s office until they got satisfaction or got arrested. But when uniformed officers showed up after about 25 minutes of contentious exchanges between officials and protesters, with orders to make arrests if the crowd did not disperse, the demonstrators left at Helen’s request.

“I didn’t want to see people get arrested for my case,” she said. “I really appreciate everyone coming out and supporting me.”

Union representatives said an arbitration eventually will be held, even with Helen in Indonesia.

“She will be at a significant disadvantage in terms of reviewing documents, conferring with us and facing her accusers,” said Christine Petit, a UAW representative.

UCSD Media Freeze Part Deux?

It looks like censorship is upon us again at UCSD.

Although I despise the Koala and their material, the First Amendment does apply to them. If their free speech rights are stripped of them, other papers will come under attack as well.

The Huffington Post writes:

Although UC San Diego student publication the Koala is known for pushing the envelope with questionable content, some think the paper crossed the line when it attacked UCSD student leader Carli Thomas with an article (NSFW PDF) titled “Carli Thomas is a Fat Whore” — and accompanied by an image of Thomas shoddily doctored to include male genitalia over her face.

The ensuing story, written by Koala “editor-in-queef” Kris Gregorian, is highly offensive, calling Thomas a “square chinned, thick-necked uppity skank,” among other things. Thomas believes that the personal attack stems from her decision as associate vice president of student organizations to cut the newspaper’s funding — a suspicion supported by this line in the article: “it’s kind of ironic that we’re spending the $450 allocated to us to print thousand (sic) upon thousands of copies of paper that basically say, ‘Carli Thomas, while a homely unf—able bovine before, isn’t even worth a drunken sport– now.’”

In response to the incident, the university told 10News it does “not endorse, condone, or approve of the material the Koala publishes; however, the First Amendment protects their speech, even though we find it objectionable. Under the First Amendment, the University is severely limited in the actions it can take in response to content published by students”

Gregorian refused to speak with 10News unless the station provided him with a case of beer, which 10News said was against policy.

Fox 5 Reports that Thomas plans on suing the paper for defamation. Check out their coverage below: