The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 74/No. 10      March 15, 2010

Students in San Diego protest
racist attacks at university
(front page)
LOS ANGELES—Hundreds of students at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have recently organized demonstrations, marches, and other actions to protest racist attacks on their campus. The latest attack was a noose found hanging from a light fixture in the campus library February 26.

“I just took that noose as an attack on all of us,” Mustafa Shahryar, who is from Afghanistan, told reporters.

UCSD enrolled the smallest number of Black freshmen last fall of any of the nine University of California undergraduate campuses—46 students out of a class of 3,749.

The campus administration sponsored a teach-in February 24 on “intolerance.” A majority of students walked out.

“If you truly care about our university, if you want to stand in solidarity, you will join me in walking out of this teach-in and joining us at our teach-in,” said Fnann Keflezighi, vice chair of the Black Student Union (BSU). Chanting, “Whose university? Our university!” the multinational group marched out to participate in the BSU’s counter-teach-in.

“We do not need to focus on the condemnation of individual racist acts, but to realize that individual acts of racism such as the ‘Compton Cookout’ and The Koala broadcast are an example of a trickle-down effect,” Jasmine Phillips, a student government officer, explained to NBC News.

The “Compton Cookout” was an off-campus party organized by fraternity members February 15 to deride Black History Month. Among other anti-Black comments, the Facebook invitation said participants should wear chains and female participants should dress like “ghetto chicks.”

On February 18 a program on the campus television station by a student organization called The Koala described students who protested the racist party as “ungrateful niggers.”

The BSU is demanding that the UCSD administration take steps to increase the number of African American students, faculty, staff, and administration, and fund programs to retain Black students.

Stephanie Roberts, a senior and activist in the African Student Union at the University of California Los Angeles, participated in the February 24 protest at UCSD along with 10 other students from her campus. “The language of post-racialism denies that race is a problem in the United States,” said Roberts in a phone interview. “But when there’s a noose hanging on campus, it’s impossible to deny racism. If our protest translates into action, that will be good.”
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