UCSD, Demand an Apology from the Daily Bruin   Leave a comment

On March 15, UCLA student newspaper The Daily Bruin dishonestly bashed UCSD in an opinion article titled “Violent, sexist responses to YouTube video indicate widespread insensitivity.” Talking about UCLA, the piece diagnoses “widespread insensitivity and a lack of awareness on campus” from the ugly response to Alexandra Wallace’s infamous “Asians in the Library” video. This widespread insensitivity includes obscenities, sexual degradation, and calling for Wallace’s rape and/or death, and The Daily Bruin seems to accept the notion that Asian students at UCLA were responsible for some of these comments. Authors Asad Ramzanali and Anvi Nijhawan recommend sensitivity workshops and a diversity GE requirement to help remedy this ill, but first have this to say about UCSD:

UCLA doesn’t have the same dangerous campus climate that existed at UC San Diego when a noose was found hanging in the library or when a fraternity hosted the “Compton Cookout.” These were intentional acts of racism rather than the blissful ignorance Wallace, who actually apologized, unlike those involved at UCSD, seems to exude.

I’m not sure what UCSD has to do with your ignorant student, UCLA, but you can at least make an honest attempt at accuracy. Please clarify what you mean by “dangerous campus climate” and please cite any and all violence that resulted from this dangerous climate. The Daily Bruin has also shown that they have no understanding of the facts regarding the “Geisel noose incident” and “Compton Cookout.”

The blatant non-truths printed by Ramzanali and Nijhawan are shamefully ignorant and demonstrate that these students paid only cursory attention to last year’s so-called “racial incidents” at UCSD, choosing to address the issue only to invoke another university when they are faced with a racial incident of their own. The arrogance of the “we’re better than you” attitude is repulsive. Ugly comments and violent threats have been made by members of the UCLA community, acknowledged by The Daily Bruin, but UCSD is dishonestly being disparaged for an imaginary “dangerous campus climate” that holier than thou UCLA doesn’t have. Disgusting.

Ramzanali and Nijhawan carelessly refer to the noose found in Geisel Library last February as an intentional act of racism for which there was no apology offered. Who does the fact checking at the Daily Bruin? In a statement titled “Noose in Geisel Was Not Intended as a Threat” published in the UCSD Guardian, the female student responsible for that incident had to say on the matter:

Firstly, I’m writing to apologize. I don’t have an excuse for what I did, and I deeply regret it.
Secondly, I’m writing to hopefully put a little bit of faith back into the UCSD campus by clarifying that it was not an act of racism.

Turns out, this student was the blissfully ignorant one, who never even conceived of the racial implication of her mindless stupidity, and for that, she indeed apologized. With a more sincere voice than deliberately racist UCLA student Alexandra Wallace, I might add. This is poor journalism and research at least, defamation and possibly libel at worst. A retraction and apology to the UCSD community and particularly the student accused of perpetrating a deliberate act of racism without ever apologizing is in order.

Ramzanali and Nijhawan also mention with full confidence that a fraternity hosted the “Compton Cookout,” which is under dispute. An internet personality called “Jiggaboo Jones” has gone on the record claiming responsibility for the “Compton Cookout” event, which has not been discredited to this day. Now, we don’t know if Jones is telling the truth about that event being a DVD release party, and doubts exist as to whether this is the case, but to state definitively that a UCSD fraternity was solely responsible without further investigation smells of lazy and irresponsible journalism. For his part, whatever his involvement, Jones offered this meek apology:

To my fans at UCSD I am sorry this came out like this – I never wanted anyone to be branded as a KLAN member for simply drinking a few beers and having a few laughs with a mixed crowd of people and laughing about the stupidity of racial tensions

If it turns out “a fraternity,” which I guess writers at the Daily Bruin are too lazy to even identify, was actually responsible for the event — and there is evidence of fraternity involvement — then the charge that they never apologized is still untrue. San Diego Union Tribune reported Jiggaboo Jones’s claim to the event and reported a fraternity apology:

The president of a fraternity whose members helped organize the party, Pi Kappa Alpha, issued a statement apologizing for the event, acknowledging that it was “racially offensive.”

The fraternity has stated also that while members of their organization participated in the “Compton Cookout,” they participated as individuals and not as representatives of Pi Kappa Alpha. A little dodgy, sure, and quite convoluted, but none of this complexity is captured by The Daily Bruin’s comments. Also, what a “dangerous campus climate” is, whether it involves actual physical danger, or why it must be mentioned in an article about UCLA still escapes me.

The UCSD community understands that The Daily Bruin does not represent the views of UCLA and that UCLA does not share in the dishonesty and subtle mud-slinging that Ramzanali and Nijhawan have shown. However, arrogantly declaring that Alexandra Wallace was merely blissfully ignorant and at least offered (a crappy and insufficient) apology, while UCSD hosted blatant acts of racism and never apologized is inaccurate, irresponsible, and offensive. UCSD does not shy away from racial discussion and we are more than willing to share and relate what we learned last year to what’s happening at UCLA now. This must be done with honesty and with a spirit of fellowship between our universities. Comments published in The Daily Bruin concerning UCSD are inaccurate and damaging and for this, we demand a retraction and an apology.


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