UCSD News: Obama Presents Fox with Medal of Science   1 comment


UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, not FNC, of course.

But in all sincerity, congratulations, Chancellor Fox! Way to pursue important research and bring home such prestige. I mean that.

Now that that’s out of the way, well I like the photo, so let’s re-post it.


“But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that Noose Girl acted stupidly.” (Photo and story courtesy of UCSD’s own proprietary news site)

And with that caption, we’ve progressed beyond the congratulatory tone.

UCSD News summarizes that President Obama “pledged to restore science to its rightful place and strengthen the nation’s commitment to science.” Science is one of President Obama’s favorite things, racism is not. In fact, in a 2008 speech, he said  “race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.” All indication is that he in fact did ignore race during his encounter with Chancellor Fox, elephant in the room it may have been. I’ve written about President Obama and UCSD’s “Compton Cookout” controversy before, and was disappointed in there not being a resolution. With Chancellor Fox going to the White House to see Obama and receive the government’s highest honor for science, I thought maybe they’d have a chance to talk about race. If they did, it was done so privately.

Fox’s Medal of Science is a strictly a scientific honor, so it was strictly a scientific visit, I suppose. The purpose was to honor scientific achievement, not discuss race relations, and I guess this is an example of Obama’s unwavering focus on the issue at hand. I think it’s highly unlikely that the president knows nothing about last winter’s racial controversy at the school of the Chancellor to whom he presented the Medal of Science. He really seemed eager to insert himself into the Henry Louis Gates controversy, but not so much the Compton Cookout, but here was Chancellor Fox, key player in that saga, and he seemed to have nothing to say about it.

I feel like it was a perfect opportunity to have an open and honest discussion, but Fox and Obama seem to have thought otherwise. I guess it’s the type of thing you want to put behind you without any unnecessary scab-picking. Politically, it’s not advisable for either of them to approach the racial issue– both, but especially Obama would draw unwanted attention for any public reference,  while all ruckus has calmed down on the UCSD campus. It’s just funny to me that the whole “Cookout” thing wouldn’t come up in discussion between Chancellor Fox and Obama. Was the first black president really not at all interested in why the Black Student Union at his Medal of Science recipient’s school demanded that the university be shut down? Obama talks about how government “must foster a climate of innovation,” but ignores the BSU’s “toxic climate” charge lobbed at Chancellor Fox in February.

Seems like they would each have some insight for each other and us, given their experience. It was simply much safer, and perhaps wiser, to keep the Obama-Fox summit race-free and strictly scientific.

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