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.
University of California