In Response to Criticism, The Daily Bruin Offers Inexcusable “Correction”   Leave a comment


In an editorial advocating sensitivity training and mandatory diveristy GEs to improve racial tolerance on campus, writers Asad Ramzanali and Avni Nijhawan of the Daily Bruin originally had 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.

Several UCSD students voiced their objections to the tone and dishonesty displayed by Ramzanali and Nijhawan in their paragraph about UCSD. UCSD students don’t think “a dangerous campus climate,” whatever that is, ever exited on our campus — and there is no indication that either author has any personal experience with UCSD’s campus climate to say otherwise. The noose in the library was shown not to have been an intentional act of racism, and the “Compton Cookout” was never proven to be, African American internet personality Jiggaboo Jones disputing this notion and claiming the party was his creation. Defending Wallace as “blissfully ignorant” seems blatantly dishonest, even compared to the noose in the library or “Compton Cookout.” Complaints were made known about Ramzanali and Nijhawan’s bad journalism, and a “correction” was issued.

Here goes nothing:

Correction: The original version of this column incorrectly stated that those involved in racist actions at UC San Diego in 2010 did not apologize. The person who hung a noose in a campus library apologized in an anonymous statement to the Guardian, UCSD’s student newspaper.

They acknowledge that the UCSD student did apologize…but don’t apologize themselves! They don’t even acknowledge that they libeled her. Here’s the paragraph affected by the above “corrections”:

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.” Wallace, who seems to exude blissful ignorance in her apology, did not cause discomfort among students on campus like UCSD’s events did for some.

The “corrections” come in the form of omissions, and they strengthen the need for an apology and retraction.

They still high and mightily declare that UCSD had a “dangerous campus climate” which UCLA lacks, clarify nothing about the events at UCSD, still defend Wallace’s “blissful ignorance” and say students at UCLA (including Japanese students who saw Wallace treat the tsunami so dismissively and speakers of whatever language Wallace was trying to mock) didn’t experience discomfort. More dishonesty, more bad journalism, and more in need of a retraction and an apology.

I posted the following message on their message board, directed at Ramzanali and Nijhawan:

No, Asad Ramzanali and Anvi Nijhawan, you dishonest hacks still don’t seem to get it. In your “correction,” you still refer to the noose in the UCSD library as a racist action. It was not. In the apology published in the Guardian, which you cite, the author declares “it was not an act of racism,” but a careless act oblivious to any possible racial interpretation. Administrators who investigated the incident have confirmed this account, yet you continue to libel this student without apology or further investigation. Irresponsible, fact-indifferent, journalism. Read the apology, research the response, and try again.

As for your account of the “Compton Cookout,” it’s still not clear that you understand that it was an off-campus event or that its origins are disputed. An African-American internet personality not affiliated with UCSD called “Jiggaboo Jones” has publicly claimed that he organized the event, also claiming no racism was intended. Even if Jones’s claims are true, this does not completely exonerate the UCSD fraternity members who attended, but they also offered a nominal apology that you have not acknowledged.

Quote the San Diego Union Tribune,

“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.”

Your “correction” didn’t mention these fraternity members for what reason? If you’re going to mention the “Compton Cookout,” you should do so with a grasp of the complexity involved in the matter, which would require you to issue another correction.

The charge that Wallace’s video “did not cause discomfort among students on campus like UCSD’s events did for some,” is unsupported and completely subjective, especially given how little you seem to know about said events at UCSD. People upset enough to issue death threats and students affected by the tsunami that were abhorred by Wallace’s dismissive attitude toward it didn’t experience discomfort, you say?

Defiantly, you two also seem intent on comparing your university favorably to UCSD, dragging a sister university into your racial controversy in a petty attempt to boost yourselves. Comparisons with UCSD’s events last year are relevant and useful, but only if done honesty and with a spirit of fellowship that promotes a discussion about what both schools have learned from these events. UCSD is open to that discussion, but all we hear from you is that you’re better than us and don’t have our problems, as defined by your research-optional standards.

Slamming UCSD for having a “dangerous campus climate” and supporting that assertion with your fact-free findings about the noose in the library and “Compton Cookout” drips of arrogance and irresponsibility. It’d be nice if you explained what a”dangerous campus climate” is, who the climatologists that diagnose it are, and if it involves actual violence (which none of the UCSD events included). Also, while you say UCLA doesn’t have a dangerous campus climate, the Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA, in an editorial in your paper, has openly disagreed. Calling for civility in response to Wallace’s video, the APC writes:

“The resulting reaction reveals an alarmingly dangerous campus climate and an underlying current of racism and prejudice still vibrantly alive in America.” (My emphasis)

Which is it, The Daily Bruin? The community directly affected by Wallace’s video seems to think a dangerous campus climate does indeed exist on your campus. Please explain your decision to disagree with the APC and why you continue to bash UCSD with fictional versions of events at my school.

Members of the UCSD community on your message board did not demand a “correction” — especially one that still doesn’t get the facts straight. We demand a retraction and an apology for reporting non-truths about our university and using them to unfairly bash our school. We can only have an open and honest discussion about what both schools have learned in the past year if all who take part in the discussion are open and honest. Please continue to fix the dishonesty in your article.

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