On The BSU-Fox Accord   Leave a comment

I haven’t been able to locate the document online, the most direct information I can find is from the UCSD news site, which lays out the agreed upon promises and goals. New players, power players who are not students or associated with UCSD are entering the picture. Dean of Berkeley Law, Christopher Edley is coming down to advise the administration on the accords, and African American Ward Connerly is coming to question their constitutionality. These are rock stars of the subject matter, but represent strongly opposing sides. I’ve had the suspicion from the start that someone was going to try to squeeze a writ of cert from the Supreme Court out of this, and it now becomes more likely. Outsiders bring ulterior motives, no matter who they’re fighting for- agenda rather than personal conviction is driving these forces.

The more power players, the less UCSD is handling this issue on its own, internally, with its own locally grown solutions. People from the outside will come in with their suggestions and objections and take over both opposing sides of the operation, leaving the UCSD community out of the conversation. The more powerful outside forces insert themselves, the more messages from both sides become bloated and distorted, lose any of their purity. The grassroots origins of this entire situation may be eroded away if any influence is handed over to outsiders. The BSU, for its passionate following and sincere goals, has communicated to the public best through protest. The statements they’ve released by themselves are not crisply written or clearly articulated. Nonetheless, it is their voice, genuinely, and that’s the voice that needs to ring out above swaggering outsiders.

The actual accord between the BSU and UCSD administration has been met with tenuous trust from the BSU, but looks like a victory for them on paper. Chancellor Fox made some major concessions such as matching student fees for S.P.A.C.E.S. and promising three years of funding for the BSU’s own yield program. I also wonder how Fox justifies being open to a cultural center for blacks, latinos and Native Americans, knowing it will cost money, and that she has no grounds to deny an equally expensive Asian American cultural center or Anglo American cultural center. It sounds expensive, and it sounds narrowly focused at African Americans with Chincanos an Native Americans tagging along. That is not meant to disparage their efforts, but these are primarily underrepresented minority victories.

When the BSU declares that having their demands satisfied will “enhance the educational experience of all students”, their sincerity has to be in question. The primary benefits are for underrepresented minorities, to attract students and faculty of color, to look into building them a cultural center, to fund the programs that primarily benefit them. Nothing wrong with getting what you were after, the administration is going to have to deal with those who question their constitutionality. The benefits to the 98.7% of students from the BSU’s demands are secondary, if material at all. To be a part of a more diverse community, to have more meaningful interactions with people from backgrounds they’re not familiar with- these are trickle-down benefits. Most students will never be a part of a yield program, benefit from S.P.A.C.E.S., or feel they are a part of the African American cultural center. It is unwise to mock the majority of UCSD students by implying this is as much a victory for them as it is for the BSU and allies.

The formation of a Campus Climate Commission and task force for recruitment of underrepresented faculty don’t sound free and don’t hold a strong apparent value to the average student. What exactly does a Campus Climate Commission do? It’s not going to weed out the Koala, it’s not going to reveal statistics about how most students think their campus is racist, it’s not going to have an easy time legitimizing its existence to most students. A task force for recruiting faculty of color is probably one of those implementations that is being questioned under California Prop 209 and the state and federal Constitutions. Declaring race as the main reason to form a task force is to be met with immediate strict scrutiny. It’s vague as to what they will do exactly, but the material being provided to critics is quite generous.

The BSU got to put their signature on a document that made a lot of bright promises to them, but the administration seems to have acted out of pressure and fear. Two weeks of protests can get you a lot when supplemented by a few clowns fueling the flames. It is my belief that most students on campus do not see the accord favorably and would question where the money is to come from, where it might have gone, and whether every commission will act legally. Something needed to be done to alleviate the outrage the BSU was feeling, but caving to the demands of the minority isn’t necessarily better than appeasing the majority. What is fair, legal, and economically feasible is what should be done, and I’m not sure the BSU-Fox accord is these things. People were very unhappy after the “Cookout”, and they’re going to be very unhappy after they get to know the BSU-Fox accord.


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