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UC San Diego officials meet with students angry about off-campus 'Compton Cookout'

UC San Diego administrators met Friday with more than 100 students who gathered to protest a Feb. 15 ghetto-themed “Compton Cookout” and to ask for improved conditions for black students on the campus.

The students also were angered by a Thursday segment on a student-run television station that used racial epithets to defend the off-campus party, officials said.

Penny Rue, vice chancellor for student affairs, called the clip “very racially offensive.”

She said officials had agreed to student demands to create a task force aimed at boosting African American faculty hiring and addressing under-representation of black students on the campus. Less than 2% of UC San Diego undergraduates are African American.

But students, faculty and activists said the administration’s reaction had been tepid. History professor Danny Widener, who directs the university’s African American Studies program, said students and faculty members “are pushing for some kind of punitive action and some broader redress.”

“The administration would prefer to continue to solve the problem through education, outreach and town hall grievance-airing,” Widener said. “So there’s a little bit of an impasse.”

Tensions have escalated since a Facebook invitation filled with racial stereotypes advertised the gathering last weekend. The invitation included references to "dat Purple Drank," an apparent mix of “sugar, water, and the color purple, chicken, coolade, and of course Watermelon.”

Members of the Pi Kappa Alpha were identified as among the organizers, but the fraternity’s president has distanced himself from the event, saying his club did not sponsor it.

Campus officials said this week that they were investigating whether party organizers had violated the university’s code of conduct and should face discipline. Rue noted that some of the students involved had been suspended by their fraternities.

The campus plans to hold a teach-in about the issue next week, but Chris Strudwick-Turner of the Los Angeles Urban League scoffed at the plan.

“The whole idea of a voluntary teach-in is ridiculous," she said. "And if it’s voluntary, those who are doing these awful things, why would they come? You’re teaching to those students who are already aware" of the problem.

--Amina Khan

Comments () | Archives (33)

I'm the first comment? Exactly - grow thicker skin, and there is the total solution. What happens when you get out of college, into the work force, and this stuff happens again? Who will there be to complain to? This is the world - rise above it. Don't demand anything - no one's been hurt, save for the stupid organizers of this party. They will be left behind, believe me.

Wow, a hundred protester out 22,000 undergraduates. That sure is overwhelming dissent over the Compton Cookout

UCSD always did have an angry African American population, I'm surprised they haven't changed the African Student Union's name to the "UCSD Black Panthers" yet. Their list of demands is also ridiculous... they want a separate area to feel safe? Sooo, they want to segregate themselves? A "blacks only" zone? Come on.

I do not support what they did but I do support the First amendment. People can say whatever they want, when you start punishing people for using their first amendment you set a precedent that creates situations like Stalinist Russia and the current situation in Iran. What's more important preventing "Compton Parties" in San Diego or losing the ability to use your freedom of speech? I think there is a larger issue at hand, with the liberal agenda trying to take away the rights of people in our country to support their insane politically correct ideology.


Is it the year 2010?

These kids are lucky they are getting an education.

Hopefully they have a class called "HUMAN COMPASSION 101"

I hope they throw the BOOK at them,

The BOOK of Manners and How Not to Act like a Jerk!

The purpose of UC and Cal State is to offer diverse opportunities for California's student population. The problem at UC is this attempt at inclusion of all abilities within the same campus. At UCSD you have the technical brain power of Revelle, strong humanities at Muir and the marginal intellectual underclass that have always populated Third College, Lamumba Zapata or whatever they call that academic sink hole. As much as the Regents and Adminstrators would like to think it improves future opportunity, this college is a disservice to the student body and the pranksters make this known. High school drop outs have a better reputation than such "graduates."

This is only a tiny tip of the racially insensitive iceberg at the local San Diego universities. I hear students constantly make hateful racial comments towards many races in casual conversation. I hear derogatory words used towards other races, ethnicities and religions very casually without any regret on the part of the students and it seems to be reinforced by more and more students. There really seems to be a growing racism in San Diego and I am not completely sure why. This problem needs to be addressed in public by the leading officials of the university and the city but unfortunately San Diego sweeps these incidents under the media rug because of the fear of the effect on the number one source of business, tourism. The state needs to act and force the local officials into action.

Why do people always get mad when a proximity of the truth is portrayed? It's always ok for certain people to act a certain way, but, if a certain group of people mimic that behavior, the first certain group gets all bent out of shape.
Read the comment section on BET and you'll get an idea of true feelings.

I often wonder the thought process of these kids who organize and attend these type of parties. If i received an invitation for a Compton Cookout my alarm bells would be going off that this isn't going to end well. Just because the jails and social service offices are full of minorities does not mean that should their be no minorities that we would be living in some kind of social Utopia. I'm afraid we've lost another generation to the belief that most blacks and latinos are nothing but trouble.

Why is it OK for black and that Mexican guy comedians on TV to stereotype whites and other black and mexicans, arabs and everybody else, but white people who have fun with some ghetto black subculture mockery are being blasted by the university and the race-baiters?

You have to admit that Black and White people are as different as night and day...

I think that having a fun loving Compton Cookout would be a big stress reliever from the grind of studying...and if they write a book report about it, they should get some type of college credit for one of those phony diversity classes...It's a win/win...

I bet you that everyone that attended were never involved in a drive-by shooting or any other violent crimes...and they're soon to be gainfully employed, tax paying productive members of society...

This is the most press Compton ever received that had nothing to do with crime...What's that say about the super sensitive Comptonites...

Anyway, next weeks theme is East LA Tacos...

What will these evil White kids do next...

Get over it people...Leave Whitie alone...

Yes, the party was in very poor taste. But a university is not a nanny. Assuming the party was not paid for with student fee funds, took place off-campus, and was not sponsored by a student organization, the university really has no place doing anything beyond making some sort of censure statement condemning it. Generally speaking in the US it isn't illegal to be tasteless. Again, while the concept was idiotic, I don't even think it qualifies as hate speech.

There is very little UCSD can do to address racial inequality in the student body due to affirmative action being struck down. UCSD does take a certain number of the best students from local, underserved high schools that may not have SAT scores quite up to snuff but who had some of the best rankings in their graduating class. It can actively recruit qualified african american and latino high school students. But legally there isn't a lot they can do to shore up systematic inequality on their own; by the time students apply to university the damage of inequal access to education has already been done.

African-Americans are in a position of having a dysfunctional, materialistic, under-achieving, criminal subculture become their public face. Some black people make a lot of money performing in this new minstrel show, and white people package it and sell it to the rest of the world. A lot of people buy into these degraded values, as evidenced by the rate of violence, crime, drug abuse and drug dealing, domestic violence, abortions, unwed-births, HIV infections, high school drop-outs, etc. in these communities. It's ingrained enough in the subculture that when some people try to get out, they are accused of selling out or not keeping it real. But ghetto culture is not representative of black people. It's like having white Meth-head culture become representative of all white people. You wouldn't like it if every time you applied for a job, the people doing the hiring assumed that you came from a meth-head family. So you can understand the anger.

Seems like there are two things that would be helpful: First, it would be helpful if the greater African-American community made very clear that the urban underclass does not represent them. The day can't come soon enough that when we think "black leader," we think Ben Carson and Barrack Obama, but Al Sharpton doesn't come to mind. Second, kids need to be rescued from the urban underclass. Instead of wasting our breath screaming for the ref to call a technical foul, we should work on making sure the kids learn the skills to compete.

As for the UCSD kids, they're just ignorant kids trying to have a good time. If we beat every kid for being stupid, we'd spend all our time beating kids. They are too young to realize that even though they can see this stereotype glorified in videos on BET, people are still going to be offended when they act it out themselves. To them, the double standard must seem hypocritical, and I'd have to agree with that. I'd rather see BET executives get punished; they should know better.

I think it's easy to see it both ways. The argument I've heard defending the party claim that usually they throw redneck parties, which has never gotten them in trouble, so they thought for black history month, they'd throw the black version of a redneck party- a compton cookout. So while I understand the thought process behind it, it's also clear why it's offensive.

It's obviously offensive to throw a compton cookout in honor of black history month, just like it would be offensive to throw a guido/mobster party on Columbus Day. Had a black fraternity thrown a party making fun of rednecks that also would be offensive. I don't understand why people can't see how someone could be offended by this? Especially because I have never heard of the redneck parties, that has yet be printed in any newspaper.

Freedom of speech, though allows these kids to do whatever they want. The black students at school who are offended though, also have the right to make thier feelings known, so the people who are upset about that, should realize freedom of speech is a two way street.

The black students I feel, have come up with this list of demands, as a way to try to show the rest of California and the nation, that the party was not a representation of the type of school UCSD is, and that it is making efforts to attract more minority students. It can be a turn-off for many minority students who are accepted to feel as though they aren't welcome, and thus, they may end up at other schools.

Hey Big Picture, you gave me an idea for the East L.A. taco theme party. I'll rent the taco truck guy to set up on my driveway and you just bring any 30 pack Mexican themed beer and I'll provide the circus music for you to enjoy and if you don't understand the narcocorridos I'll be glad to translate for you karaoke style.LOL.... By the way I'm Mexican and I live in "South" L.A. get over it we all make fun of each other.

This incident shows that racism is alive and well in America. UCSD's reaction shows that racism is still condoned by officialdom. The insensitive comments of some of the above posters show that some Americans see nothing wrong with racism.

When I was a college student, we protested against the Vietnam war, not kooks being nut jobs.


This could never happen in ANY corporate office. First off in the work force, no company is ignorant or stupid enough to run such an event in fear of something like this and getting slapped with a lawsuit for racial discrimination.

Second, someone has been hurt. They have been mocked with racial ephitates and stereotyping. The people who put this party together were obviously mocking the stereotypes they see on TV and through song. It's ignorant and blatant racism.

I shouldn't have to grow thicker skin, people like this shouldn't grow some damn sensitivity for other races and not be ignorant morons.

when i was in vt in 66-67 with the 173rd ABB, we had a situation where the black brothers wanted to congragate and do their own thing, including fraggin' the officers. their first attempt was a failure and it involved 5 casualties of "friendly fire". a lesson was thought and this situation never again came up during the remainder of my tour.the bad apples were gone and the operation continued smoothly.

First, this was pure ignorance. I do not want to hear these fools claiming a right to free speech when they are making a mockery of a group that has been historically oppressed by their privileged positions in society. The world is changing and the fact that these twisted, obviously small-minded individuals believe that creating something like this is okay, makes me want to throw up. As a student of color, I am disappointed that other students of color have to try to grow intellectually in an environment that is so hostile. Honestly, you might as well keep it all the way real and stand in my face and call me the n-word because that is obviously what you want to do.

For all you people who say "get over it" - get over what exactly? What are you doing? Condoning this wretched, inhumane behavior? Why do you think this young adults deserve a pass? So it's okay for Black people to be mocked, ostracized and demeaned? This is exactly what is wrong with the world and why injustice will always be a fabric of our society. NO ONE has the courage to stand up for what is right or wrong. Anything goes as long as it ain't "my people." The insensitivity is so ridiculous and blatantly superior - you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

The ignorance is obvious, these idiots are inane racists. The significance of this event can only be thoroughly understood through a historical lens. Hmm...and the 2nd trail for Oscar Grant was this weekend a couple of hours away. Justice anyone? If we don't demand our own justice, these idiots and most the ppl commenting here wont do it for us.

Wow a lot of racists in these comments. This is DISGUSTING and IGNORANT and UC San Diego should do much more to make it clear that this kind of conduct is unacceptable

The statisitic that fewer than 2% of the student population is African American is to me even more worrisome than the obnoxious, disturbing frat party.

However, the article doesn't describe threats of physical harm that some students of color reported experiencing in the confrontation with the Chancellor, which your reporter could watch on you tube at http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=16D69A22CB87869A

I spent 8 years on that campus in the 1990s. I will never forget that the medical school admissions plummeted to SEVEN African American students after CA voted for Prop 209, which disallowed UC admissions to consideration of racial diversity as one factor, while keeping intact points for having parents who were alumni.

I'm white. My husband who I met in grad school is Latino. We had lived in LA brown neighborhoods. I couldn't quite believe the stories he and a black friend told about being followed in the local grocery store until I went with him to Sav-On, and watched it happening. It was a moment where I concretely grasped a kind of privilege that comes with white skin -- people don't presume you a criminal at first glance.

La Jolla has long been a hostile environment with a white supremacist underbelly. When the campus was built, there were property deed convenants in place restricting "non-white" land ownership. The main reason this ended in the 1960s was because of the influx of Jewish faculty and their families.

That institutional history should be taught.

Looking east up the I-15, it fascinates me that UC Riverside, located in a County where self-named Nazis marched last summer, has been able to attract and retain students of color, while UCSD's campus looks less and less like the real world.

This is awesome. Classic proof that the first amendment is only used when it is politically correct. I hope the next time gay rights advocates march all the people oppose to this Cook Out, Oppose all the gay rights advocates. It is all or nothing with free speech you can't just pick and choose at your convenience. Also Once a time the civil rights movement justified their terrorism with the freedom of speech. Not that i AM opposed to this kind of free speech, if it was not for our fore fathers did oppose the crown through satire we would not have a country.

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