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Students walk out of UC San Diego teach-in on 'Compton Cookout'

Nine days after an off-campus student party mocked Black History Month, UC San Diego went through a day of protests, tumult and self-examination Wednesday, especially concerning the small number of African American students enrolled at the beachside campus.

University administrators sponsored a teach-in on racial tolerance that attracted a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,200 students, faculty and staff to an auditorium in the student center. But halfway through what was to be a two-hour session in response to the offensive racial stereotypes at the Feb. 15 "Compton Cookout" party, most students walked out in protest.

They then held their own noisy but peaceful rally outside the building. Administrators may have thought the teach-in “would make us quiet,” said Fnann Keflezighi, vice chairman of the Black Student Union. But she said minority students don’t believe that UC San Diego will take significant steps to make them feel more comfortable on campus and increase their numbers.

The controversial party, she and others contended, was just the spark that ignited new activism about long-simmering issues at the university. Many wore special black and white T-shirts that proclaimed: “Real Pain, Real Action, 1.3%” -- a reference to the percentage of African Americans among the campus' undergraduates, thought to be the lowest in the UC system.

The teach-in moderator, Mentha Hynes-Wilson, an African American who is dean of students at UCSD’s Thurgood Marshall College, continued the meeting for several hundred people who remained in the room after the walkout. "I was not necessarily offended or taken aback by their actions,” she said of the student protest. “That’s what they needed to do, and we need to honor that.”

UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox attended the teach-in but did not speak publicly. Administrators said the campus is taking many steps to boost recruitment of African American students and to provide more counseling and security on campus. The university is also investigating whether it can discipline the organizers of the off-campus party, which invited guests to dress like ghetto caricatures from Compton and eat chicken and watermelon.

Several days after the party, racial tensions were raised further when a satire group on campus used a derogatory term about African Americans on a student television show; the student station has been temporarily suspended, as has student government funding for some other publications.

-- Larry Gordon, reporting from San Diego

Photo: Amid a rally of thousands, student chant in solidarity after walking out of a university organized "Teach In" on February 24, 2010 on the campus of UCSD in La Jolla. Credit: Don Bartletti  / Los Angeles Times


PHOTOS: Walkout at UCSD

Comments () | Archives (24)

"The university is also investigating whether it can discipline the organizers of the off-campus party, "

Talk about some massive civil rights lawsuits that will fly their way! If it was off campus, there is nothing they can do.


UCSD doesn't grow smart students, do they?

I think what these students are doing in response to the University's lack of action is admirable. Screw the university system. It is still run by old white men who need to wake up and smell the racism and tension brewing.

University of San Diego...whining at its finest. Must be a new degree program. Here is a hint for you race warlords and self-described victims: Want in at a college? Have the grades and test scores.

nothing better to do.

Blah! Blah! Blah! What will they do when they graduate into the real world and the administration isn't there to coddle them? People say and do things all the time that others don't care for, yet we don't see the PC police coming after them. GET RID OF THE CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDERS!

If the university has difficulty in identifying who was responsible for the compton cookout what does this say about its highly touted research capabilities?

That's right students.... No justice, no peace. Mighty Whitey will soon learn that their time is up. What they have, there was a way to get it. If blacks can't have the same opportunities to get it, along with justice in the process. Then whites shouldn't have it either. UCSD your dirt has turned into dust, and has spreaded every where. Your now exposed. Students...shut it down. Good Luck.

I don't understand how ANYONE could think that they deserve entrance into a University based on RACE!! That is the most ignorant and obsurd thing I have ever heard. People need to earn their way into prestigious Universities with competative grades and more. If you don't have that going for you, the problem isn't in the University system, it's in the upbringing of the student and the schools they attended growing up. Here Black Student Union, let us hand you acceptance to schools because you're black - now that is RACIST!!!

it's easy to get into college.

1. go to elementary school, study and do well....
2. go to middle school, study and do well....
3. go to high school, study and do well....

4. (optional) go to community college for 2 yrs, study and do well....


To all of you non-readers: the issue is NOT whether or not the students are capable of attending college because apparently they are! The issue is how long should Blacks and others tolerate the idiocy and racism of white people.

The answer is simple: NEVER!! Stop them in their tracks if they attempt any negative actions against you.

I wonder if anyone who has posted the last comments have ever been discriminated against by a stranger; if anyone who posted the last comments has ever been racially targeted before they saw the age of 18; if anyone who posted the last comments know what it is like to be judged by their race and not their character? "Why is there a black history month?" You might be right. How could one short month make up for 200 hundred years of slavery enmeshed with injustice, lynching, legal abuse and discrimination? Perhaps for the people in 1926, a month meant more than an apology. As though someone- anyone- could apologize for the suffering of a people. People CAN celebrate white history month- but to the minorities of any group, every month is white history month- where the minority is often forgotten. Turn on the television, open a magazine, look at a billboard, Tell me what people are most represented. I could only wonder how the "2 percent" of that school's population felt. How hard it must have been to stand up and say "thi sis wrong," and simultaneously have people say "you're overreacting." "Whites, Latinos, and Asians can all be 'ghetto'" True- very true. But at that cookout, did anyone dress up as Whites, Latinos, and Asians? Would you not expect the same response from someone who decided to throw a Concentration Camp Cookout? If everyone were to look like the many Jewish people during the Holocaust? Would you laugh and scoff it off as though it is just freedom of speech? Have you ever analytically looked at the society in which you are living? And how the minorities are honestly regarded? Freedom of speech becomes negligent and ignorant went it hurts someone else. YOU speak to express YOUR mind- not to target another human being. And for those of you who cannot quite understand why African Americans would be so upset, try your hand at empathy. Ask someone,anyone, the questions I have asked here. Learn- and see the world through someone else's eyes- not just yours.

I was disheartened by the comments posted here. "GET RID OF THE CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDERS!" Wow- I wonder if my grandmother, a woman who watched her husband be dragged out of their Southern home and beaten nearly to death by racist strangers, could ever "get rid of the chip on her shoulder"? I wonder if that fragile woman will ever stop being a "race warlord and self-described victim," after having to bury her husband's broken body. I gave a speech yesterday about human rights and social responsibility regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any other status. The people to whom I spoke, were changed- not knowing that they needed change or to be changed. Many of you here need more than just change, you need open hearts, open minds, and open hands to help those people who feel as though they have fallen or have been kicked down. And if you believe that it is not your responsibility to care or help them then what you've to say or do in this world is irrelevant if not insignificant. I'm only a freshman in college, and I shake my head at the ignorance of those older and perhaps wiser than I, and I can honestly say I fear for my future- the future of this nation and my kids' future. The only reason most of these people were upset by the Black student "uprising" was because they didn't want to face or feel any guilt. Instead of being adults and admitting "yeah, what we did was inconsiderate and hurt a lot of people but we weren't aware of the magnitude of our actions," I see the response to be "they're overreacting- they need to stop with this complaining and suck it up." I wouldn't want anyone to live in a world where ADULTS will not take responsibility for their actions. "Blah! Blah! Blah! What will they do when they graduate into the real world and the administration isn't there to coddle them" Hopefully, the government or the legal system will be there to back them up and hopefully people with comments such as yours will grow up. Or if I may be as bold or naive to have some HOPE left, hopefully they wouldn't face this in the future. Take care.

By no means do I agree with what the organizers of this party did. I think they are inconsiderate, naive, kids that thought they were funny. They should have realized that what they were doing was going to stir up understandable emotions of the minorities they are mocking. But how does this involve the college? It was off campus and unrelated to the university.

I'm not too sure how this party has lead into people talking about affirmative action but, by no means do I think even asking for race on a college admission form is right. Both racism and reverse racism is wrong. The person that is most qualified to be admitted into a college is the person that should be admitted. Selecting someone that may be less qualified based on race doesn't solve a thing.

Finally, uttering the phrase "Mighty Whitey will soon learn that their time is up" is just a belligerent as "Blah! Blah! Blah!...Get rid of the chip off your shoulders". But people like Empathy-Tubman have good points. Let's keep this constructive people.

kudos to what Kathy said!

An idiotic party thrown by a bunch of frat boys is NOT a reflection of the 30,000+ staff, faculty and students that are at UCSD. Yes, there were a lot of hurt and anger that resulted from it; however, why is the fact that it was not a university sponsored event escaped everyone's attention???

"The university is also investigating whether it can discipline the organizers of the off-campus party"--it shouldn't be UCSD's responsibility to discipline what students do off campus that is not affiliated or endorsed by the university; or else, they have a lot of work on their hands.

Tubman, ....... Jim Crow ended 45 years ago. Time to move on.

How long will University Administrator allow this farce to continue. There are real problems to be solved on campus with increasing fees and fewer needed classes to complete graduation requirements. The university has no business in none university activities. It sounds like the school is trying to distract students from real issue, or they are doing P.R. work to show there sensitive to minority students.
As for the students, they should take a philosophy class. They fail to see the fault in their logic.You can't blame the university for non university activities.

Look at all the haters (these comments) that took a report about a racist incident and then blamed it on the African American students. And why is this suddenly about admissions? You haters that have written comments here simply prove the point that racism is alive and well!

In the past, many different non-white races were excluded from elite universities. Maybe not 100% excluded, but, you had to be pretty exceptional to get in.

Today, minorities have to contend with these young racists and young elitists who mock poor people. There are still challenges to overcome, and barriers set up by the traditional elitists.

@cke - an idiotic party thrown by frat boys most certainly IS reflective of UCSD.

The frats represent the most elite strata of the student body. They are the well connected, and the people who seek entre into the upper class. Not all will get in, of course, but, they try.

They are an undemocratic force.

Historically, fraternities excluded African Americans from membership. That's why the African American frats and sororities formed -- to create a support network for Blacks in universities.

This "Compton" themed party was just a way to express negative stereotypes, and revivify the memory of the American caste system.

"They are an undemocratic force". I hate to tell you this, but most "democratic" principles dont apply to private organizations.

As for perpetrating negative stereotypes for the city that was being made fun of; have any of you been to Compton? Nothing nice or good comes from that city.

In fact, why don't some of you go to the Times homicide blog and look at the homicide data for Compton. 117 murders since Jan 2007. What a wonderful city. And when you think of it, the stereotypes that the "Compton Cookout" made fun of, where not to far off the truth.

There are racist people everywhere, around the world. It is natural part of human nature. Asians are racist against all people. Look at the Japanese. Jewish against Arabs and vice versa. It is how you act that make people don't like you.

At about the time UC San Diego was experiencing this, UC Irvine's student newspaper ran an opinion piece (Feb. 23) by Hanna Guthrie titled "Black History Month?" that trivialized racism and recycled all the cliches certain hate groups have been spouting about non-majority ethnic groups in the U.S. It reflects a despicable trend to normalize racist acts in schools and in the workplace, and it affects all of us and not just Americans of African ancestry.


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