Students protest at Irvine, San Diego campuses
‘Compton Cookout’ party at UCSD spurs activism, outrage
Written by Lauren Steuss, Campus Editor
The California Aggie, Published on Feb 24, 2010
Yesterday morning at 9:45, approximately 20 students at UC Irvine began a sit-in at the campus’s administrative building, Aldrich Hall.
The sit-in resulted in at least 17 students, faculty and staff arrests for unlawful assembly and refusal to disperse, according to a press release from University Communications at UC Irvine. All but five of those arrested were released on the scene.
By yesterday afternoon, staff members working in the building were evacuated while demonstrators chanted outside the building and throughout the street, physically blocking several exits.
“We call for the democratic education intended in the founding of the UC system,” read a statement from a list of demands the students wrote during the protest. “This means an end to the racist, gendered, hetero-normative, and exploitative practices currently in place.”
The protest was a response to a culmination of events on and off the Irvine campus, including the arrest of 11 UC Irvine and Riverside students at a campus meeting with the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.; the “Compton Cookout” event held by UC San Diego students; and the 5 percent work-hour reduction of represented employees on the Irvine campus, according to UCI media spokesperson Cathy Lawhon.
Also yesterday, hundreds of students walked out of a teach-in hosted by the UC San Diego administration on the UCSD campus. Members of the Black Student Union then held their own teach-in and protest outside Price Center.
Speakers from all over California, including students from Compton High School and a professor from USC spoke of the impacts events like the “Compton Cookout” have on the black community.
Those who attended the event said the discussion was a positive reaction to several events on the UCSD campus, including an independent newspaper’s usage of a racial slur. The outrage led to the student government temporarily cutting funding for all campus media publications.
“The teach-in today wasn’t just a reaction to the “Compton Cookout” party,” said Hosna Safi, a UCSD junior majoring in international studies. “There were underlying issues of race even before the party. It was a catalyst for change on our campus.”
In support of the black students at UCSD, UC Davis students will be wearing all black clothing today and tomorrow. On Tuesday, many students taped their mouths shut with words of support written on the tape to demonstrate awareness for the issue of racism.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.