Day After Protest At The Chancellor’s Office   Leave a comment

Students awaiting administrative response rally around the Chancellor’s Office to hear words of encouragement from a diverse array of speakers

The news media across the country now has decided there is money to be made by covering the “Compton Cookout” saga. It’s become the recent bread and butter of the San Diego Union Tribune, receiving regular coverage in the Los Angeles Times, and making its way across the country to be covered in the New York Times. You might expect some level of standardization or consistency between established news sources, but there’s not and they still want to say “stormed” “takeover” and “disruption”. I saw these news reporters walking around with their note pads, ordering their tech guys around, and they were there as much as I was there, but seem to be writing about a somewhat different event. They’re all the Daily Prophet (profit) from Harry Potter as far as I’m concerned, existing only to sell themselves.

It looks to me like they undershot the estimates of the number of students gathered, staking it at around 300. I don’t know if they think that will trigger images in the minds of readers of Leonidas and co., but I can guarantee there were more than 400 people there. This has become a national story, and those who truly want attention now will be able to get it, just follow the example of the Koala and the noose hanger. Outrage at the Koala and their frozen funding is being reported across the country, and the noose story was another step of escalation. The group of gathered demonstrators sounded disappointed the student was merely suspended, and administrative policy probably prevents further action until a more complete investigation is issued. Rumors of a second noose, possibly in Muir College, were floating around, but it’s not a widely confirmed fact.

While the BSU has done a fantastic job mobilizing supporters and organizing protests, it’s important to understand that the attention the media is giving them can be positive or negative, and it doesn’t even all depend on how the BSU actually acts. The “Bullshit Ass Document” declaration in response to the administration’s written reply was bold and expressed their feelings quite clearly, but probably doesn’t look great in print, especially outside of San Diego.

A statement released by the BSU demanding that the Chancellor shut down the school while solutions are worked out is not going to go over well with the general students or with the public at large. It does sound unreasonable that the university should be shut down in response to the actions of a few, shutting down larger forums for speech and discussion in the meantime. Not having a school to go to will not help increase minority representation within the school.

Demands should be considered from other points of view before being made and need to be articulated as clearly as possible with as solid of an explanation as possible. The statement from the BSU was not particularly well-written and was unspecific in its reasoning. In order to convince Chancellor Fox to take action, it’d be best to present statements that she cannot easily pick apart. Student and public support for the BSU will not be blind, and while the leadership of this movement has shown strong organization and solidarity, but should consider the thoughts and motivations of its supporters, not dictate to them. Be as understanding of your audience as you want Chancellor Fox to be understanding of you.


Posted February 27, 2010 by Wada in Compton Cookout, UCSD, UCSD noose, UCSD protest

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