Statement about the Recent “The Koala” Issue


Students of the University of California,

Today I was sent the recent issue of The Koala, a satire student publication printed from UC San Diego.  It was one of the most racist, sexist, homophobic, and prejudiced things I have ever read.  I will not, not do I want to go into the details of the publication, we’ve provided a link and a cover of the issue for reference.

This issue goes beyond prejudiced and hateful content – it attacks specific individuals on the UC San Diego campus because of their positions or identity.  This is completely unacceptable at our University, and I recognize it goes with the multitude of events that have happened on our campuses for years that are also completely unacceptable.  These actions make our campuses unwelcoming, unsafe spaces for our students and potential students, and destroy much of the purpose the UC has as an institution of higher education.  These events don’t just occur at UC San Diego, but across the system, and I will join the many other student leaders in fighting for systemic change in diversity and campus climate issues.

I would like to argue that the challenge we face goes far beyond The Koala, and student publications and free speech.  Indeed, it might not even include the actual publication of The Koala.  The Koala, according to its editors, thinks it’s undefeatable.  The Koala, although horrible, is also somewhat irrelevant.

The challenge we face, and have always faced, is how do we prepare and convince students of color to attend our schools, to graduate, and to go back their communities to bring more students of color.  Our challenge is how we can make LGBT and queer students feel safe on a UC campus, to not face hate and homophobia from fellow students, and at the very least, to not face physical violence.  Our challenge is how we can have our institution, the University of California, serve our communities who have been so long ignored.  The recent The Koala release is an example of the challenge we face, no doubt, but not the actual challenge itself.  The actual challenge is much greater.

I hope there will be students, staff, and faculty who will be outraged about this issue, and will express themselves.  There are high school students out there in California, from marginalized communities, who are right now holding their acceptance letter in their hands, hearing about these events on our campuses.  Someone must show them that there are communities that will be a home for them, and will make these campuses a safe space.  I hope that property will not be broken, and that no one will get hurt.  More than that, I hope people will mobilize against this hate, and fight for a diverse, safer campus community.  I will be more than happy to fight with you.

Sincerely,

Jesse Cheng

Student Regent-designate

University of California

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9 responses to “Statement about the Recent “The Koala” Issue

  1. I was wondering if any other UC’s have similar publications. I don’t believe there are any at Cal as far as I know.

  2. Not that I agree with what The Koala has been doing, but I feel like you giving it more attention on this blog is giving them exactly what they want… Attention.

  3. Interesting part on their site disclaimer
    “Most complaints on articles written and printed by the staff will be acknowledged and if we find that we have been insensitive to our readers, we will issue an apology to those offended.”
    http://thekoala.org/disclaimer.html

    Really now, really? Please show me when they have EVER apologized.

  4. Triston McLaughlin

    Satire, when done well, is not hate filled, boring, simplistic and contrived. Sadly, while the defense of the Koala is that its editors are using satire, and its free speech, most are ignoring the fact that its just plain bad writing. I am not even referring to the content of the latest edition, which is just sad and cruel, but the childish and whiney tone of the editors.

    From an outsider’s perspective, having read the older addition, as well as the new one, I don’t see journalism here, nor any real craft. The Onion is clever, Mad Magazine was clever, The Giant Napkin is well thought out, Humorfeed opens my eyes.

    Seems the Koala’s main purpose is to get attention using the basest of stereotypes, the laziest forms of humor and the lowest form of wit.

    I am all for free speech, and would never stop even the most inane and awful writers from being able to “share” their “wisdom”. But do their publications have to be financially supported by me, a California taxpayer?

    I think that the Koala hides their bad editorializing, their bad writing, their poor and lazing reporting, and their just plain awful work behind “controversy” and “free speech”. They use controversy in order to stay in business. They live for the battle to defend what is really pathetic prose. They hide behind the mantel of the First Amendment to disguise the fact they just can’t write well.

    They want us to get all caught up in what they consider “cleverness” and “satire” and “humor”, using race as a cover. Notice how we are all in a twist over what is just bad, hateful, and lackadaisical words they try to pass off as a witty periodical is really just beevus and butthead low-brow grunts.

    Triston McLaughlin

  5. It’s not about how well they can write. It’s not about satire. It’s about the system and how bad everything is. I think students should be able to decide for themselves every year, like we vote for AS student leaders, on which programs we’d like to see our money spent.

    Yelling at the Koala is a waste of time because they can do whatever they want, even though it’s offensive, which is exactly what they want to do. I’m not in defense for the Koala, but I think they’re doing a good job in indirectly making us thinking how poorly the UC system, particularly UCSD is being run.

  6. Triston McLaughlin

    Am I “yelling” at the Koala staff? I am critiquing their “work”, which is something any publication should expect to happen, and what its readers should be doing, not just defending it on “first amendment” issues.

    If the student’s at UCSD wants to spend their money on a publication that is just so poorly written, by all means go ahead. I just wish you would all be intellectually honest about the QUALITY of the publication.

    DO some research, and look at the undergound student newspapers of the 60’s- they were smart.

    My sense is this- the editors of the Koala have little talent, so feel the need to do what they can to raise hackles, and shock in order to get attention.

    Having an issue that would please the KKK does draw attention. But if its readers are honest with themselves and look beneath the tackiness, the racism, and the juvenile antics of the Koala, they will discover there ain’t a whole lot beneath the stink they try and spread. Kind of like a cow paddy, fun to throw around, smelly, but really very shallow.

    I am not for censorship of any kind, I would defend the Koala’s in court to write what they do.

    However, that doesn’t mean they are talented, or write a good periodical. They don’t and hopefully the supporters of the Koala, while defending their right to write a KKK manual, would at least admit to themselves the Koala just isn’t funny, nor is it good satire, nor is it even mildly amusing.

  7. Why do I think similar publications like the Koala do not exist elsewhere? Simple: UCSD students feel more rejected than any other UC student. They are perfect victims at war with other victimized UCSD students competing for the title of “Most Marginalized Victim in the UC system”. UCSD students are particularly unique in their shared bitterness over being rejected by UC Berkeley and UCLA. And there is a good reason why they didn’t get into these better colleges: they are the types that allow this publication to exist year after year regardless of harm caused. Perhaps less obvious, these same students welcome Koala’s nefarious tone as a tacit expression of manifold rejection faced in other aspects of UCSD student life.

    A publication like the Koala can only exist at a UC like UCSD. For example, average UCSD students feel rejected by the camps social experience because typical forms of college socializing are covertly and overtly discouraged by the UC administration. Campus parties, if one should happen, are not allowed to flourish past 10pm and aggressive campus police are just as bored as students (I once watched my friend get arrested at a small campus gathering after being illegally searched. He was exonerated in court.). Don’t be fooled by the beautiful trees and beach sunsets: The social atmosphere at UCSD is suffocating. As an average UCSD student, I was satisfied by the academic environment but was disappointed by the administration’s efforts to isolate the campus from adjacent San Diego communities. There was no 24 hour coffee shop within 15 miles or places to hang out just for fun within 10 miles. There was a crummy pool hall open on weekdays until 9pm, but the campus is, to say the most, dead. When I was a student, this was the Koala’s main selling point. They offered what the administration would not and could not: a social life.

    Unfortunately for those appalled and hurt by hateful ideas, images and words, the Koala newspaper will always have a supportive base as long as lazy, underachieving students feel stifled by the lack of non-academic campus outlets. Student support and tolerance for the Koala organization illustrates campus boredom and the misdirected ambition of many UCSD students that are not in college to work hard. Like most irresponsible adults, these types do not take seriously the effects of their actions and inactions.

    After a five minute reading of the most recent humorless paper about the Compton cookout and other related themes, it dawned on me that the architects of this masterpiece couldn’t possibly believe a single word spewed. Rather, such drivel must be taken as a desperate call for drastic changes in university administration. In this regard alone the Koala’s editor speaks to me in a smug, self-important tone while also saying, “The Koala, UCSD’s quintessential cultural text, has detailed the gradual decline of UCSD and the entire UC system at the hands of an aloof administration for over twenty years.”

  8. Yesterday your webmaster removed the thumbs up/down feature for these comments. People should know that my comment was +4 with no negatives before your self censorship. Do what you must to save whatever face you think you still have. God forbid you boss finds out what your readers think!

  9. Hello there forum, its me… KOALAMAN! Firstly, I’d like to a give greatly deserved Koala fist pump to Mr. Miller here above me, well said sir. As an editor of The Koala, I can say that Mr. Miller has been able to see what the rest of you fucktards have obviously missed.

    Don’t be too hard on yourselves though. A lot of people don’t get it, even half of our readership doesn’t get it. They just want to laugh at some racist jokes. They can’t see the ridiculousness of what they are holding in their hands, can’t see why it is maybe one of the best things that has ever happened the their campus.

    Do you actually believe that the staff of the Koala are racists? If so, we would have to be the most virulent racists on the planet. We would have to hate every race of humans in existence, even ourselves. Fun fact: I AM THE ONLY WHITE STAFF MEMBER ON THE KOALA AND I AM A JEW!(2 years ago, our Editor in chief was a black woman!) Yes, thats right, The Koala is actually the most racially diverse organization on campus. What brings us together is a desire to rattle your little bird cage, UCSD.

    And rattle we have. The Koala is not about journalism, well journalism in the sense that it is most commonly used. We specifically print on every cover “The worst in collegiate journalism since 1982.” The Koala is about documenting a different kind of story, the story of the very, very pissed off student. Pissed off that I have cheeky cartoons telling me how to fucking recycle. Pissed off I have an RA who wants to play “root beer pong.” Pissed off that our only day of full on rage is now confined to RIMAC field by an administration that is so out of touch with students that they can’t even fathom a party, let alone the Compton Cookout. I am pissed off, UCSD. Thats why I joined the Koala, because it is a big, fat pile of shit right in the middle of the squeaky-clean, pseudo-utopia UCSD tries to be.

    The Koala is something you cannot ignore. You love it or you hate it. There is no middle ground; it forces you to feel. You cannot look at it with the normal apathy that most likely fills your day-to-day. Its something that will never go away, no matter how hard any of you morons or our equally inept administration tries. Cut our funding, expel us, threaten us. Nothing has ever stopped us, and nothing ever will. We cannot stop, we speak for something that is too important. We refuse to be sterilized like the rest of this pathetic campus.

    The only sensible thing I have heard from any of you retards is that our school has a problem with “Campus Climate.” This problem, however, is not racism. Do you think that the noose and the hood were acts of racism (both have been reported to be acts perpetrated by minority students). No, the perpetrators were bored-as-fuck students! They saw to boat finally rocking a little bit and decided to give it a little push of their own. Misguided most certainly, but this is what happens when you have a gang load of students who are more worried about their weekend schedule will look like than their class schedule.

    Our readers support us so much because every time they see us on library walk, they are reminded that there is a group of people doing everything they can to make noise, to start some trouble for god’s sake!

    Our aim is not to be nice, or to be loved. In fact, we rely upon the group of students that hate us much more than the students that love us. For every student that hates us there is someone out there who just found a reason to love us. Not to mention all the media attention! Yes! Hopefully this will get the real message out, but not that UCSD is racist. This spin has only been perpetuated by the administration and other student organizations who are too stupid to realize what this is really about. For this, I am truly sorry, these are the real people doing a disservice to this campus, not The Koala. Their inability to read between the lines and think before speaking for maybe 2 seconds.

    The message we send out is “Come, young students! Come to UCSD where you will enjoy fornication and intoxication to your heart’s content! Come and learn, but also, come to fucking party. Come to get angry, to be yourself, but most of all come to drink some fucking beer.”

    That is all. We are The Koala, hear our mighty roar. We come for your booze, your women, and your entertainment!

    Yours Truly,
    Koalaman

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