Letters to the Editor: Criticism jeopardizes freedom of speech

Editor:

I wish you would keep your puerile opinions to yourselves. Your ideas are so poorly thought out that it is an embarrassment to me to realize that you attend the same university that I do. As long as you keep your mouths shut, the rest of us can only guess at how stupid you are.

Some people at this school are passionate about chemistry. Others are passionate about studying foreign cultures. The thing I feel passionately about is ensuring that the rights guaranteed to every American citizen by the Bill of Rights are maintained and exercised. That’s the reason that it is hard not to laugh when the UCSD Retardian editorializes on how The Koala is somehow misusing the freedom of the press. Ha. It reminds me of the time a 6-year-old girl approached me and called me a “”poopy-head.”” Intriguing, but hardly anything that is going to make me lose sleep. In hopes of exposing the UCSD student body to a glimpse of some of the inner workings of The Koala, I’m going to take this opportunity to respond to the characterization of The Koala as a platform for racism.

First of all, we do not write the personals. I want to invite all students to come by our office and see if I cannot immediately produce dozens of student personals written in the past three weeks, either paper slips we collect through bags on campus located at Earl’s Place, The Pub, Plaza Cafe and outside our office or through our e-mail account, [email protected]. The Personals page is our best attempt to allow the average UCSD student to speak his/her mind in print to the rest of the student body. The Senior Staff of The Koala decide to publish personals based not on whether we or the rest of the student body agree with what the personals say, but rather if we feel they represent a student voice.

Nobody has the right to tell me not to print the opinions of UCSD students in a paper that they fund. To the extent that any student disagrees with the message of a personal and is interested in publicly responding, allow me to suggest that such students will have a difficult time finding a platform that is as widely viewed and as open to the average student as The Koala’s Personals page.

Secondly, there has been some controversy over the Chikes joke. I wrote that joke myself and I am a Kike. That’s right. I’m Jewish. How I refer to my own people should not be an issue that offends the Guardian or anyone else. To any other Jews who are still dissatisfied with this response: Lighten up. It was a joke, see? A joke? I think it’s really sad to see people so uptight that they can’t even laugh at themselves. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you have no right to laugh at others and you certainly have no business reading The Koala.

According to the last A.S. election, 67 percent of the voting student body reads The Koala. We got more votes than any other publication, measure or candidate (even unopposed candidates) on the entire ballot. Apparently, there is a substantial audience for the material we are printing. This indicates to me that rather than being some sort of extremist publication, we are the most centrist and widely appealing student publication at UCSD.

Thirdly, I want to address the various student organizations that have come out and condemned The Koala for racism. You obviously missed one of the main points of the “”Forum on the Greek System”” article. It is my opinion, and I don’t know how many other people agree with me, that student organizations that recruit their membership exclusively from students of a certain ethnic background are contributing to racism much more than the printing of a few lines of a student’s opinion. These organizations are designed to create a social structure built entirely for the isolation of a specific ethnic group from the rest of the student body of UCSD. They are singling themselves out from the rest of the UCSD community and forming a “”Jewish community”” and dozens of splintered Asian communities at UCSD.

Furthermore, when these organizations allow The Koala to print material that makes fun of white people, fat people, handicapped people, etc. and only take action when members of a particular ethnic group are made fun of in The Koala, I call that racism, straight out of Webster’s Dictionary. These racist organizations offend me and the idea that they have balls to accuse me of racism is truly astonishing.

I want to wrap this up with a little thought for all of those people who think that hate speech should not be published with student funds. Are you suggesting that free speech can exist without hate speech? Mind if I ask how? What they really want is for The Koala to make its offensive material less offensive to the over-represented “”minority”” groups on campus, but still make fun of retards, Jesus, Revelle and other acceptable targets of ridicule.

Obviously, hate exists at UCSD. Does anyone actually think that trying to make The Koala censor these student opinions will do anything to make these people feel different? Your proposal to stymie free speech on campus will only slap a Band-Aid on continued ignorance, encourage hateful people to feel angry and disenfranchised and provide an easy way to avoid dealing with race issues on real terms. This is not the solution to curing hate at UCSD. The same people who claim to want to bring everyone together into the UCSD community with kisses and love also want to exclude people whose beliefs they deem “”hateful.””

Who gets to decide? If I decide that every word ever printed by any student paper at UCSD deeply offends me and my religious and ethnic heritage does that mean that all campus publications are now printing hate speech and should be shut down? Or better yet, how about the cartoon the Guardian put right next to its editorial criticizing The Koala for being a platform for hatred that seems to advocate children shooting their classmates for being bullies? What’s the excuse for that? It sure as hell wasn’t funny.

Under the guise of being fighters for students who are hurt by The Koala, The UCSD Guardian and anyone else who is criticizing my editorial decisions is contributing to the weakening of every American’s inalienable rights to a free press, to free expression and to free speech. That is how the Bill of Rights actually works. That is what our forefathers killed and died for, and I welcome anyone at this school, Guardian staffers included, to try to stop The Koala from continuing to be heard.

On behalf of The Koala: Blow me.

— George Lee Liddle, III

Editor in Chief, The Koala

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