Department of Justice Investigation Into UCSD Concludes

    “Students have a right to seek and obtain an education without facing racial harassment,” Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division for the Department of Justice Thomas E. Perez said in an April 13 press release. 

    The Department of Justice launched the investigation into UCSD after the racially charged incidents of 2010.

    “UCSD, like all colleges and universities, has an obligation to make clear that racial discrimination and harassment on campus will not be tolerated, and this agreement is a significant step in the right direction,” Perez said. 

    The OPHD declined to comment further regarding the provisions of the agreement due to the confidential nature of the settlement. Although the office declined to comment, the university released a statement about the agreement.

    “At UC San Diego, we are pleased that our discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice have resulted in a collaborative agreement that recognizes our extensive efforts to address harassment and discrimination, and reinforces a plan for continued improvements in campus climate,” the university wrote in an April 13 press release. 

    The racially charged incidents in question began in February 2010, when UCSD fraternity members held an off-campus party known as the “Compton Cookout.” Outrage over the racial climate and the discovery of a noose inside Geisel Library culminated in marches and protests involving hundreds, and a teach-in that numbered as many as 1,200.

    In the aftermath, Chancellor Maye Anne Fox and Black Student Union co-chairs David Ritcherson and Fnann Keflezighi signed an agreement outlining the administration’s commitment to improving the campus climate. The university agreed to implement 19 BSU demands, which included providing more funding for diversity programs and creating new positions dedicated to enriching diversity.

    Since then, university administrators have created the position of Vice Chancellor for Education, Diversity and Inclusion, hired 12 non-white faculty members and instituted a diversity requirement for all undergraduates. 

    The university began drafting a new code for student conduct in May 2009 to increase university jurisdiction over off-campus events. The university hopes to implement the new policy in Fall 2012.

    BSU Vice Chair and Vice President of External Affairs-elect Olamide Noah said that she believes that the university has not yet adequately addressed the situation. According to Noah, the university initially agreed to the terms put forth by the BSU, but has since put minimal effort in fulfilling and implementing the demands.

    Most other UC campuses have black student resource centers and the administrators agreed to provide one for the UCSD campus in principle, Noah said, but the burden fell on the BSU to compile the necessary research and put together a proposal.

    “Although there have been changes, a lot of those changes were initiated by students. It wasn’t the university that took it upon itself to fix this,” Noah said.

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