Letters to the Editor

    Editor:

    Thank you for your coverage of UCSD’s involvement in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade.

    You referred to some signs carried by a group of students; that group also carried a banner identifying us as representatives of the Campus Peace Coalition.

    In this letter we would like to correct a small error in your story, to provide some information on our group and to relate a disturbing incident during the march.

    The sign you referred to read “”Civil Rights are Human Rights”” (emphasis added), not “”is”” as reported (we double-checked).

    No hard feelings of course.

    The CPC, formed after Sept. 11, is a registered student organization representing a diverse array of campus groups and individuals.

    We are opposed to violence in all forms, including both the terrorist acts and the illegal military response of the “”war on terrorism.””

    We also oppose scapegoating and discrimination, especially that currently directed at Muslims and people of Middle Eastern and Central Asian descent.

    Furthermore, we stand in defense of our civil rights, which are under attack under the guise of “”strengthening national security.””

    We were proud to participate in this parade, since King himself passionately opposed war, violence and discrimination, and was a champion of civil rights.

    The CPC meets Wednesdays at 5 p.m. at the Women’s Center and can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

    Now for the incident: Civil rights apparently are not pertinent to UCSD, while the San Diego Police Department is.

    Allow us to explain.

    The Thurgood Marshall group was marching right behind us, chanting things such as, “”When I say ‘UC,’ you say ‘SD!'””

    We briefly discussed the possibility of adding our own chant of, “”When I say ‘civil rights’ you say ‘human rights.'””

    An unidentified UCSD staff person overheard this discussion.

    We were told that since this was the UCSD contingent of the parade, there would be no protesting, and that anything chanted had to be pertinent to UCSD.

    So, it would seem that civil rights and human rights are rather controversial, since chanting those phrases would have amounted to “”protesting.””

    Later, among the high-spirited Thurgood Marshall chants was a call of “”When I say ‘SD,’ you say ”PD!'”” as a nod to nearby San Diego police officers. The UCSD staff person did not react to this or other chants of questionable relevance to UCSD.

    The prohibition of our chant, coupled with acceptance of the police-related one, struck us as especially ironic, because King lived and died fighting for civil rights and human rights, often in the face of police intimidation.

    Decades later, we are supposedly “”living his dream,”” and yet a group of students trying to honor his memory was silenced by its own school because King’s own message was too controversial and irrelevant for his own parade.

    Honoring police officers, meanwhile, was deemed appropriate.

    We think this suggests something rather disturbing about the values of our university, and that King would have been appalled.

    — Campus Peace Coalition

    UCSD

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