The UCSD administration is in the process of trying The Koala for allegedly violating UCSD’s Student Conduct Code — and it is keeping the entire process a guarded secret.

According to Koala Editor in Chief George Liddle, The Koala is being charged with “”obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other UCSD or University activities.”” If found guilty, the controversial humor publication — a registered student organization — faces potentially devastating consequences: a possible one-year suspension from activity on campus and revocation of its status as a student organization.

Holding secret trials that could result in the elimination of a campuswide publication is illegal, undemocratic and at a public university whose motto is “”Let there be light,”” shamelessly hypocritical.

According to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, “”It is the public policy of this state [California] that public agencies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and the proceedings of public agencies be conducted openly so that the public may remain informed.””

Among the most important “”proceedings of public agencies”” are trials. Were these charges brought against an individual student who wished that his educational record remain confidential, holding the trial behind closed doors would be understandable. But this is not even remotely the case.

The Koala is not by any means an individual; it is a campuswide student organization and a member of the campus press. Additionally, all principal members of The Koala (the only members of the defense allowed to represent the organization during the trial) formally requested that the proceedings be opened to the public. UCSD summarily and unilaterally denied their requests.

The administration’s actions are puzzling at best, especially because there is no justifiable reason for keeping the trial of a student-funded publication secret. National defense is not at stake. What is at stake is freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of information, the right to due process and the very credibility of UCSD’s judicial process.

As we all know, the university is railroading a student organization through a kangaroo court. In all seriousness, are UCSD students actually expected to take it on faith that The Koala will receive a fair trial, especially when the trial is governed by the same university that has publicly condemned the defendant via all-campus e-mails and in the press?

Americans have been raised with the notion that one cannot place any faith in any system if one cannot see it. The only way there can be any assurance that these proceedings will be conducted fairly is by opening them to the public. At a university with colleges named after Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall, it is ironic that this is even an issue.

Denying students their right to know what action their own university is taking against a student organization funded with student money is unacceptable, and the Guardian will not stand for it.