Student Behavior at the Compton Cookout “Teach-In”   2 comments


A quick summary of recent events:

  • Monday, February 15- Ghetto themed “Compton Cookout” party held at Regents apartments, planned and attended by UCSD students.
  • Tuesday, February 16- Chancellor’s office sends mass email to students condemning the “offensively themed student party, mocking the commemoration of Black History Month.”
  • Wednesday, February 17- Through another mass email, UCSD administration announces campaign called “Not In Our Community” to support students who feel threatened and isolated, administration also plans “Teach-In” for February 24. Local news outlets report on the event.
  • Thursday, February 18- Koala airs racial slur and possibly “Compton lynching” sign on Student Run TV.
  • Wednesday, February 24-  UCSD administration’s “Teach-In” is preceded by a hundreds-strong demonstration led by the Black Student Union, walkout of the “Teach-In” staged halfway through, BSU’s own subsequent rally supersedes the administration’s event.

I want to describe today’s events from the perspective of a UCSD student who was there, not a professional news reporter trying to create an appealing story. I don’t necessarily like the way the professional news articles I’ve read portray today’s events. This was the most energetic and focused demonstration I’ve ever seen at my school, and while the rally was loud and tenacious, there is absolutely no reason to believe the group was rowdy or unpeaceful. It’s been called “disruptive” and “protest” and yes, it was both of these things, in as positive a way as a disruptive protest could and should be.

I would like to stress that during the official Price Center Ballroom “Teach-In”, we crowded over a thousand people into that space, standing room only, in a very calm and orderly fashion. There were chants of “Let us in!” when the ballroom seats filled up and traffic stopped. However, there was never any pushing or shoving, I know because I was in the middle of the crowd. No reports I’ve read have spoken of pushing and shoving, but the language used certainly does not preclude it. I am precluding it.

Once the ballroom was settled and the mediator introduced the event, the audience was quiet, diligent, and respectful. Individuals applauded at points they agreed with, refrained when they were less sure. It was a determined atmosphere, but one where appropriate laughs and levity occasionally broke through. Nothing but respect and attention was paid to the programmed speakers. This does not mean the speakers addressed the issues the group was most concerned with. It was with respect, and order, and bravery that the Black Student Union leaders called for the walkout. The ballroom emptied relatively quickly and unquestionably peacefully to chants of “Whose university? Our university!”

The short march to the steps in front of the triton fountain was very large and very loud, there was true excitement and celebration. This was a protest, and I hope it was loud enough to attract the attention of any passers by. The BSU organized their own well-run event, completely without incident. I just want to clarify that the demonstrators listened intently to the administration-planned event for about an hour before deciding they had different voices and a different forum that was more desirable. No boo-ing, no delinquent behavior. The march was a protest, but also a celebration. I didn’t see the news reports use the word “celebration”, which I have found to be a very appropriate word.

That is not to say I think this was the perfect rally. It was very effective, very peaceful, very well organized, and overflowing with positive energy- a celebration. I don’t personally agree with everything said by the administration’s “Teach-In” speakers, there were also walkout rally speakers who said things I disagree with. The entire demonstration is open to criticism, and I have no doubt that the BSU will adequately respond to any such criticism. The recognition of pain, call for institutional change, and claiming the university for all students were very clear messages. Very loud messages that were also very thoughtful messages. Messages delivered from many individuals and delivered in solidarity. I don’t think the professional news outlets have conveyed the celebratory aspect of the walkout nearly enough in their printed media.

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Posted February 25, 2010 by Wada in Compton Cookout, UCSD, UCSD Teach In, UCSD Walkout

2 responses to “Student Behavior at the Compton Cookout “Teach-In”

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  1. I will tell you what I have seen these last few days, I saw people from different backgrounds, my children, my brothers and sisters come together in solidarity, and got the message heard.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help my brother in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help my brother, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need, when you saw a wrong you tried to correct it, you may argue the methods but not the reasons. I know God will not discriminate by country of origin, our sex, our orientation, color of our skin, or our religion as men do.

  2. I will tell you what I have seen these last few days, I saw people from different backgrounds, my children, my brothers and sisters come together in solidarity, and got the message heard.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help my brother in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help my brother, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need, when you saw a wrong you tried to correct it, you may argue the methods but not the reasons. I know God will not discriminate by country of origin, our sex, our orientation, color of our skin, or our religion as men do.

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