Alec Weisman, Editor-in-Chief
As you know, we’ve been closely watching the recent antics of the BSU and their allies, and we’re deeply disheartened by how thoroughly they’ve lost sight of Martin Luther King’s ideals. So many of their demands push not for color-blindness, but for explicit race-based favors.
In response, we’ve compiled a list that reflects our view of what UCSD would be like under Dr. King’s dream.
This is not a slate of demands. We will not occupy the Chancellor’s office, or plant a noose, or otherwise disrupt campus life, if our quiet voice of reason gets lost amidst the opportunistic aggression of the race-baiters. We’ll live in a world that’s a bit more racist, we’ll have a bit less pride in our alma mater, and our best potential successors will be a bit less likely to come here… but life will go on.
And this is not the work of a disembodied intelligence; you’ll see the stamp of our individual life experiences. One of our staff members is an economics student, frustrated by the disconnect between “pay people to dig ditches and refill them” Keynesian orthodoxy and the complexities of the real world. Others have sat in philosophically or politically biased classes, wondering about (and sometimes discovering) the consequences of articulating a coherent dissenting perspective. And most of us have grappled with that eternal mystery, “Why?”… in the context of the meal point system, at least. But we understand that our pet peeves are not as important as universal issues like maintaining academic standards. It’s okay if some items receive much more attention than others.
With that said, here’s what we wish to see:
• a school that hires the best and brightest of academia, regardless of race or creed or politics.
• a school that continues to respect the spirit of Proposition 209, admitting students on the basis of academic merit and personal accomplishments without any reference to race. This is in the interest of all parties; the black graduation rate at UCSD doubled after the proposition’s passage.
• a school that helps minimize exploitation by informing students of their legal rights. Perhaps a list can be provided to every student during Welcome Week.
• a school that applies its standards of taste to its own buildings, not just its off-campus parties or rogue publications. For instance, the name “Che Café” is, at best, of questionable propriety; “Revolutionary Cafe” preserves the theme without giving too much sanction to a mass murderer. (Yes, we realize it doesn’t rhyme. On the other hand, it is good enough for an etude. Anyway, we’re open to other suggestions.) It can be repainted with a mural of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, and Henry David Thoreau.
• a school that does not withhold funding from student organizations following the rules. We believe the Koala should be socially sanctioned for its inflammatory and vulgar response to recent events. But it should not be forced to shut down, unless it actually broke the law.
• a school with transparent student government. Transparency is a powerful enemy of organized favoritism. All Associated Students meetings should be open to the public; and we believe it is also now practical and desirable to film and broadcast them live on the A.S. website.
• a school that provides funding and resources to ethnic groups in an equitable manner. There’s room for debate regarding what that entails; quite a few of the BSU demands can be accepted under this principle (and we’re okay with that). But certainly not all of them.
• a school that fosters a racially integrated community by hosting inter-group dialogue and activities.
• a school that offers more humanities classes with a neutral point of view. We believe in intelligent diversity of thought on campus, not just diversity of color.
• in the same vein, a school providing an economics education not any more wedded to Keynes than the facts justify.
• a school that minimizes the financial burden it places on its students by taking advantage of digital books and other cost-effective technologies.
• a school that enforces financial discipline on its programs. Departments and organizations should not be allowed to disproportionately drain UCSD’s resources by accruing massive debts; that hurts everyone, regardless of color.
• financial transparency of the UC Regents, the University of California, San Diego, and the Associated Students of UCSD.
• a school that respects voluntarism, not just “official” forms of social work.
• a school that encourages active citizenship by promoting involvement in student media. (Granted, since we are a student media organization, this request is self-interested.)
• a school that honors greatness, regardless of its source. We think a showcase of student, alumni, and faculty achievements, at a central visible location on campus, is a good way to do this.
• a school that demonstrates its commitment to economic efficiency by allowing students to opt out of purchasing meal points.
• a school that properly disciplines any student who violates another student’s rights.
• a student government structured to defend student rights. We recommend renaming the A.S. position of Associated Vice President of Student Advocacy to Vice President of Student Rights; this would confer voting privileges on the position, allowing its occupant to be an effective force for respect of student rights at UCSD.
• and finally, an administration and A.S. committed enough to peaceful inquiry to consider this list, despite our lack of threats.