New Townhall Column on Divestment Resolutions Passing at the University of California

I have a new column up on Townhall.com today about the University of California system embracing the BDS movement. The article is titled “Divestment Resolutions at the University of California Encourage Anti-Semitism.”

Below is an excerpt from the article:

The University of California system is living up to its reputation for being home to anti-Semitism.

Earlier this month, several campuses belonging to the University of California system passed legislation in their respective student governments calling for divestment from Israel. Resolutions decrying so-called “human rights violations” in Israel passed at UC-Riverside and UC-San Diego. UC-Irvine passed a similar bill last year in November. In 2010, UC-Berkeley passed a resolution in favor of divestment although it was vetoed by their student body president.

Divestment is a component of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by Palestinian activists in an effort to delegitimize the state of Israel. BDS’s goals are to promote the “Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination” by “ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall”, “recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and “respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

On the surface, BDS appears to be benign and legitimate. Support for human rights in the Middle East? Why not! What could be wrong with that?

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Presidential Candidate Ron Paul to Address UCSD This Week

Week 5 promises to be an exciting time here at UC-San Diego. Two prominent figures – Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and presidential candidate Ron Paul – are coming to campus this week.

 Danny Ayalon Lecture – May 3, 2012 – 6-8pm – Price Center Theater

Danny Ayalon‘s lecture is sponsored by Tritons for Israel. It will be held in Price Center Theater from 6pm to 8pm. Doors open at 5pm. More details can be found on the Facebook event page. Tickets are free from the UCSD Box Office. Will-call tickets available.

Ron Paul Speech – May 4, 2012 – 7-8:30pm – Warren Mall

Students for Ron Paul of UCSD is sponsoring this event. According to the Facebook event, over 1,000 people are “Attending.” Tickets are free, but you must reserve them ahead of time. Go here to reserve your ticket before they run out.

Whether or not you agree with these speakers (I certainly don’t agree with many of Ron Paul’s policy positions), go hear them speak on campus. Why not take advantage of this opportunity?

I will be blogging about both events this week. Stay tuned!

“Big Business Monkeys” Are Coming to Take UCSD’s Books Away?! Not Quite

The war over budget cuts at the University of California–one between leftists in the administration/professors and the UC Regents–is getting heated.

Watch out, fellow Tritons! Big Business Monkeys are going after our books at UCSD.

What is a big business monkey, you might ask? Simply the invention of one student who is dismayed by capitalism and is looking to make a scapegoat out of it.

Understandably, the university has no right depriving us of books. School officials always talk about children and optimal education, but most fail to deliver providing such quality education.

Professors and administrative officials arguably make too much money, and leave us–the students–with limited resources.

This finding is confirmed by The California Review:

UC student costs 1997-2011 vs CA state funding
• Also: # of Faculty and # of Senior Administrators.
• Student Fee is full student fee. State Funding is CA funding to the UC General Fund. Both are adjusted for inflation to CPI-U.
• The # of Faculty is full-time-hours equivalent of regular ladder-based faculty (most common type of faculty).
• The # of Senior Management is full SMG (Senior Management Group) & MSP (Manager and Senior Professional) count.

Watch this video. Although it addresses the problem of library closures, it vilifies the privatization of education and is full of inaccuracies.

From the Facebook event:

Education should be a public resource. Don’t let the Big Business Monkeys cut such an important part of our education at UCSD. Prevent the sale of books by borrowing as many books as you possibly can. Exercise your right as a UCSD student! Borrow a shit ton of books. It’s all based on this complex logical system derived in the highest minds of this supposedly prestigious institution:

Libraries cannot sell books, that they do not have.

So let’s remind UCSD that such frivolous cuts in this vital student resource will not be tolerated by fucking with them during the first week of school.

Just check out books, you should check out books you’re interested in. Let your check outs be representative of the subjects you as a student are interested in. Don’t feel like you have to read all of them, but let it show that students from all majors love the library system and need such an institution to keep a diverse collection. Show that such budget cuts on student resources is an intolerable and irresponsible decision.

Let’s have fun with this, tell your friends, will improve description in due time.

“I can only speak for one of the libraries on campus, but while books are regularly churned out of the stacks, there is an equal amount that is constantly being pumped in to the stacks to compensate. I don’t think it is necessarily a cause for panic. Facilities and operation hours are in much more jeopardy, and should probably be the focus.”

-> On this note, let’s publicize these concerns as well. This is purely gonzo logic, symbolism over action since we’re all minions in the UC game after all. Use the system to bring this issue to the forefront, confront the Capitalist concerns for what they are, show how the UC system is becoming more privatized and putting the students and their resources on the back burner. Check out that copy of Rings of Saturn that you’ve been meaning to read ever since you got into the writings of Walter Benjamin, I don’t know, say more and add to the discussion! let’s make this a learning experience, since that’s what you’re here for other than that piece of shiny paper.

In these difficult times, it is not (ever) wise to blame capitalism for the UC system’s financial failures. Instead, look to the people in charge and the exorbitant costs they’ve generated. It’s time that the higher ups (professors, administration) sacrifice too. Stop wasting our tax dollars.

“Repugnant” Anti-Asian Video From Airhead Draws Attention

A girl who calls herself Alexandra Wallace aired her grievances about Asian people. If you watch the video, Wallace–who’s enrollment at UCLA is questionable according to some reports–flaunts her cleavage and rants about Asians during preparation for finals week. It’s finals week–don’t you have anything better to do than to be an airhead?

Here’s the original, which was copied from Wallace’s account but later removed by her:

UPDATE: YouTube has since removed the video since it violates their “hate speech” policies.

Here’s the rebuttal, which is pretty hilarious:

Another spoof:

From the Daily Bruin:

A university spokesman called a viral YouTube video, titled “Asians in the Library,” “repugnant.”

The nearly 3-minute video shows a woman who claims to be a UCLA student making disparaging comments about Asian students.

The university has to yet to determine whether the woman in the video is a UCLA student, said university spokesman Phil Hampton. He added that the university is also looking into how the original video was posted.

“The comments on there are contrary to the values the university believes in,” Hampton said.

The original video was posted Sunday afternoon and has since been removed. Various copies have appeared on YouTube and other websites. Postings of the video say the speaker is a UCLA student named Alexandra Wallace. A number in the university directory listed under Alexandra Wallace was disconnected as of Sunday night.

As much as this petty rant is distasteful, free speech permits fools like this to talk. She didn’t do anything that would breach school code. FIRE has the details here:

The old saying is that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Just about every university’s “hammer” of choice when it comes to unpopular expression is the set of rules prohibiting harassment on campus. Indeed, Robert Naples, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor and dean of students, wasted little time in telling the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper, that “We’ll be taking a look at the language that she uses in the video to see if it violates any codes under the student code, perhaps regarding harassment.”

That should be a short investigation. In order for something to qualify as peer-on-peer harassment on a college campus, it has to be (among other things) action that is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts from the victims’ educational experience, that the victim-students are effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities.” Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629, 652 (1999).

There is simply no way that this video meets that definition. What is said in the video is not particularly severe, as she couches her language in a number of ways and even apologizes at the beginning for not being “politically correct.” It wasn’t pervasive, either; the video appears to have been originally intended for the amusement of Wallace’s friends and only became widespread after the controversy began and it was reposted by others. It’s also easy to avoid seeing the videosimply by not searching for it on YouTube or clicking on links to it. Whether or not it is “objectively offensive” is a matter for debate, but at that point it doesn’t matter; in order to be harassment, the video must meet all of these criteria. It does not. Anyone minimally qualified in the law should see that very quickly; if UCLA does not, chances are it is because the university is more interested in finding a way to punish the student for her speech than in fairly conducting an investigation.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block has also weighed in with a YouTube video of his own accompanied by a statement posted on the website of the UCLA press office. Block strongly condemns the video, which is his right to do. But his statement that “I recoil when someone invokes the right of free expression to demean other individuals or groups” is a bit mystifying, as Wallace did not “invoke” her rights in the video. Perhaps he just misused the word “invoke,” or perhaps he is responding to someone other than Wallace. Either way, it’s disappointing that Block has chosen to blame free speech here. Block continues by calling the video thoughtless, hurtful, demeaning, hurtful (again), shameful, intolerant, indefensible, hateful, and ignorant, all in the course of a short three-paragraph e-mail. It may or may not be all of those things, and again, Block certainly has the right to express his own opinions of the video, and to answer what he perceives to be as objectionable speech with speech of his own. But I know that if I were Wallace and were potentially facing a disciplinary hearing for the video, I would not feel very optimistic about getting a fair hearing about it.

Some students have also reacted in ways that aren’t particularly encouraging. A Facebook note purportedly from the Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA asserted that “it is clear that this student’s comments can be considered a [sic] hate speech, an act of discrimination, harassment, and profiling,” and called for “disciplinary measures befitting of Wallace’s violation against the UCLA Student Code of Conduct and UCLA’s Principle of Community.” This significantly overstates the case. As discussed above, the video does not meet the legal definition of harassment by which UCLA, as a public university, is bound. It’s also worth noting that while people are free to label whatever expression they dislike as “hate speech,” the “hatefulness” of speech does not provide a legal justification for removing its Constitutional protection. Further, labeling a video like this as an “act of discrimination” dangerously confuses expression with action and, perhaps worse, is demeaning to those who suffer from real acts of discrimination. And even if UCLA did determine that the video violated some UCLA code or standard, the fact is that the expression in the video is constitutionally protected and UCLA is not free to punish Wallace for it.

Then, of course, there are the death threats against Wallace that have kept her from taking her exams at their scheduled locations and times. She also has apparently shut down her phone number and Facebook page, as her contact information was being posted around the Internet by those angry about the video. Obviously, death threats, if credible, are not protected speech and should be investigated. (Wallace is reportedly consulting with the police about them.) While UCLA Vice Chancellor Naples’ statement that “If she’s received a death threat, I find that as deplorable as her original YouTube video,” is welcome insofar as UCLA is willing to condemn death threats, it seriously raises the question of how Naples could believe that Wallace’s video, as offensive as it might be, could be anywhere near as deplorable as credibly threatening to kill someone.

One of the common complaints about FIRE is that we don’t offer specific remedies for those who have been offended by others’ speech. This is only true if you believe that official institutional or governmental punishment is the only remedy available to those who are offended. What has happened in this case proves that social pressure is an extremely strong force as well. Wallace has apologized for the video, saying,

Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate. I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I’d like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand.

Wallace has been criticized by thousands on the Internet. The chancellor of her university has condemned her in the strongest terms. At this point, she is undoubtedly something of a social pariah, and she seems to have gone “off the grid” at UCLA. You have to imagine that this will affect her career prospects. And all of this has happened without any official punishmentso far, anyway.

Is official punishment really going to do much more at this point? Does anyone really believe she will express these opinions again, if she even continues to hold them? The fact that in a free society it is not the government’s place to punish people for their protected expression does not mean that people are not held accountable for it, especially in the Internet age. We would be well advised to remember that fact before we call for official punishment for those who offend us.

UCSD is #winning…? ROFL

This was taken at Warren College Mall here at UCSD.

Apparently, UCSD is winning! We love tiger blood, seven gram rocks, and biwinning apparently…Go figure!

In all seriousness, Charlie Sheen’s antics are uproarious but at the same time dangerous.

One parody you will like entitled, “Biwinning”:

The second is called “Winning” from the guys that brought us the Bed Intruder song.

Folgers Jingle from Past, Current UCSD Guys–Watch!

Some lovely friends of mine from UCSD–including recent grads Jake Alexander and Aron Korney, as with graduating senior Omer Ben-Zvi–have entered into a contest to have their song featured in an upcoming Folgers Coffee commercial.

Watch the video below:

 

UCSD Just Got More Exciting

Many have complained that UCSD is socially dead. Although our school is not know for Greek Life or athletics, this move to make RIMAC appealing to musicians and concerts noteworthy.

KPBS writes the following:

SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego is known for its scientific research, but it might soon become known as the school of rock.

UCSD struck a deal with L.A. based Nederlander Concerts to bring at least six big music acts to the university’s 5,000-seat RIMAC indoor arena.

Nederlander also has exclusive use of RIMAC’s outdoor field, which accommodates 20,000.

Observers say the deal means there will be more competition among San Diego music venues. UCSD students, however, are excited to get discounted tickets to big-time music events on campus.

The university does not have a Division I sports team, like UC-Berkeley or UCLA. Students said music fills the void.

“Sports is not the only experience people can share together,” said Henderson Blumer, a 21-year-old student at UCSD. “Music can go beyond what sports can do … music has this effect on people that has great effects for morale on campus.”

University officials say the timing is just right for the RIMAC deal. The student population at UCSD has grown to 30,000 students, with more than half living on campus.

“With that (growth) comes an expectation that there is a rich campus life for students to enjoy, especially late nights and over the weekends,” said Gary Ratcliff, UCSD’s assistant vice chancellor for student life.

UCSD has been steadily attracting musical talent through its smaller on-campus venues, including The Loft, a performance lounge that opened its doors two years ago.

Campus officials said UCSD has gone from having 20 concerts a year to 250.