Burn Web site posts defense of actions

    After being accused of supplying a foreign terrorist organization with material support, the Che Cafe collective’s stance is that its actions have not been in support of terrorism, but in support of the pursuit of education.

    On Sept. 16, the collective received a letter from Gary Ratcliff, director of the University Centers, informing the group that it was in violation of university policy and federal law for posting a link to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia on the burn.ucsd.edu Web site, which is maintained by the Che collective. The FARC is on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

    During an interview with the Guardian on Oct. 2, Nicholas S. Aguilar, director of student policy and judicial affairs, said that the collective would be receiving a clarification letter explaining that the posting of the link to the FARC was not why it was in violation of university policy and federal law. The violation, Aguilar said, was due to the collective allegedly “”hosting”” the FARC Web site.

    Although the collective has not been officially informed of the change in allegations, it currently maintains that it is simply providing a link to the FARC site rather than actually hosting the site.

    The university considers that a Web site is being “”hosted”” when ucsd.edu is included in the site’s address. Currently, the Che Cafe collective has not been formerly charged with misconduct or been officially made aware of the change in allegations by the university. The collective’s current stance, however, is that its actions in maintaining the burn.ucsd.edu Web site have been to provide a primary media source.

    “”We no longer need to look to the television or newspapers to learn about current events and the people participating in them because we can just look to these people directly and decide what we think on our own,”” states the Burn site.

    The Burn site maintains that it does not provide support for the organization, but merely an opportunity for the site’s audience to decide whether or not to support the group.

    “”We’re not giving money to the FARC (or anyone else),”” the Burn site says. “”We’re not training them or housing them or giving them weapons. The extent of our ‘support’ for the FARC is a hyperlink … We simply provide a link to their page so that people can make up their own minds about them.””

    The collective believes that the university’s investigation of the allegations is based on an ulterior motive.

    “”With this country skipping merrily toward fascism, jumping on the ‘war against terrorism’ bandwagon seems to be a stance UCSD thinks will be popular,”” the Burn site states.

    The Burn site sees the university’s actions as an attack on academic freedom.

    “”In a world where academic freedom is under attack, the universities should be at the frontlines of the struggle to save it, instead of rushing to help destroy it,”” says the Burn site.

    Due to press deadlines, university officials were unavailable for immediate comment.

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