Find Better Solution for Media Funding
A.S. Council’s controversial decision to defund all student media organizations at the end of last quarter sparked a discussion about campus climate and First Amendment rights. Although the vote itself was handled in a seemingly impulsive and slightly unprofessional manner, A.S. Council’s intentions behind the decision are worth defending. The popular argument, that the student body (and the rest of the Millennial generation) is overly sensitive to anything that isn’t sugar-coated, is simply ridiculous. Students aren’t whining about superficial causes. They’re voicing legitimate concerns for their safety. Incidences of racism, homophobia and transphobia, and sexual assault should not be trivialized or encouraged. However, as one student mentioned during public input at a recent A.S. Council meeting, the issue at hand cannot and will not be resolved by withdrawing funds.
Everyone on campus is expected to follow the UCSD Principles of Community, which are defined as “basic principles” and explicitly “reject acts of discrimination.” The principles also state that UCSD “encourages open expression…within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity…and respect.” That being said, there is a way to for students to exercise free speech without attacking or degrading each other. Media organizations should be able to receive funding, but all student organizations should be required to adhere to these university rules and regulations to remain active on campus. University officials and A.S. Council need to carefully revise the student organization eligibility requirements and application process. We need to focus on finding and implementing a solution that protects students’ First Amendment rights and simultaneously ensures that student organizations do not facilitate acts of discrimination or violence on campus.
Bring Back the Fun Times, SGF16
Sun God has been gradually deteriorating over the years. It used to be this gigantic party where UCSD students could run wild and blow off steam. Just once in our overtly academic, textbook-oriented lives, we deserve the pleasure of letting everything go. But this is no longer the Sun God we are acquainted with. Now it’s more like a tame birthday party, where the parents show up unexpectedly with animal balloons, circus clowns and the gift of constant adult supervision.
In the past, it is true that the party has gone too far. In 2013, one student died of a drug overdose after leaving the Sun God festival. While this is very sad, the administration has made some notable mistakes in their effort to reform the system. This was evident in last year’s festival when there were multiple cases of sexual assault and student ID fraud.
The best way to prevent this is to offer more education on drugs and alcohol, instead of patronizing the entire student population.The festival has become like a trip to the airport that involves getting groped by a sleazy TSA officer. How can anyone enjoy themselves when they’re surrounded by lines of security guards with breath analysers and drug-sniffing dogs? Also, out of a lineup of five musical artists there was only one woman. That speaks for itself.
Instead of using fear-based tactics to shame students into following rules, the university needs to encourage more constructive dialogue among festival-goers. Students should be required to undergo drug and alcohol education in a discussion-based group setting before attending the festival. After the university ensures that everyone is well-informed, we, as students, have a right to make our own choices about how to live our lives.
Gone are the glory days of humanities. Now is the age of engineers and programmers — STEM majors, as they so fondly refer to themselves. Sure, science serves its purpose but the shortage of liberal arts students, especially here at UCSD, is unacceptable. It’s one thing to close a number of our university’s already limited art spaces, such as the University Art Gallery, Graffiti Hall and the Crafts Center (just to name a few). It’s another matter to slowly diminish the population of students these spaces were meant to serve.
Moreover, the stigma against liberal arts and humanities majors, both on campus and in the workforce, must be addressed. In science classrooms, students and professors alike mock and devalue these disciplines, deeming them impractical, unemployable and ultimately futile. Philosophers and artists used to be heralded as geniuses and kings of the social sphere. Now they are considered selfish and irresponsible.
UCSD must reverse this trend, which history’s greatest thinkers would unflinchingly denounce, by encouraging an increase in the acceptance of aspiring humanities majors. Science fields are quickly becoming impacted anyway, so why not expand the subjects that are underserved? Screw profits and rankings. If our university truly cares about education, as it boasts so loudly and frequently, then they must develop and nourish the departments outside of STEM. Literature, philosophy, visual arts, ethnic studies, critical gender studies, anthropology, history, etc. These are disciplines we need the most yet value the least. It’s time we halt the glorification of science and revitalize our love of the humanities.
Let the Che Stay
2015 was a year of “strikes and gutters” for the UCSD community. June was overshadowed by the ongoing occupation of the C.H.E. Cafe and the shutdown of Porter’s Pub, a malty oasis for students overwhelmed with academic routine. In September we witnessed a metaphoric demolition of the Crafts Center, a student art space temporarily closed since 2012. But despite the bitter losses of last year, the agreement between the administration and the C.H.E. Cafe Collective representatives secured UCSD’s main victory of 2015 – the C.H.E. is here to stay.
“Shutdown the CHE?” is no longer a question for the UCSD officials. However, this does not mean that university authorities should forget about the C.H.E. Cafe.
As administrators cast doubt on the facility’s structural safety, it is their responsibility to ensure that the building is in fact a “safe space.” Supervision without intervention is the approach that the UCSD administration has to take in 2016 in order to show that it did not lose the battle against the Collective, but accepted an alternative solution to the problem of safety hazards of the C.H.E. Cafe.
Now that the student activists have shown that UCSD is hard set for free community spaces, starting up the procedure of reviving the Crafts Center and opening new facilities to accommodate creative students should be on university officials’ agenda.
We hope that this year the administration will give voice to those who want be heard by promoting The Stage (replacing Porter’s Pub) and lend support to the construction of the Crafts Center 2.0.
Address Sexual Assault
After the resignation of UC Berkeley professor Geoff Marcy in October, UC President Napolitano has formed a task force to look closely at how the UC system handles sexual assault and harassment. There aren’t any universities that understand how to adequately handle campus sexual assault, and the UC system is failing its students on all fronts.
John Doe, an undergraduate student, was suspended for five quarters after a sexual assault investigation by UCSD. He sued the UC Regents after his case was allegedly mishandled and won More legal trouble came to the Regents on Dec. 18 when former UCSB student Hayley Moore filed a federal complaint against the Board of Regents for failing to investigate her reported rape.
Despite instituting new policies in January 2015, we are still lacking progress. This also reflects the national crisis in sexual assault and rape cases. Our resolution for the UC system is to create a comprehensive and efficient system to deal with accusations while spearheading national reform of sexual assault cases.
We need a system that ensures all parties receive their right to due process. This should be done in a way that is respectful of the sensitive nature of sex crimes. As a public university, UC schools are required to provide due process to all of the near 250,000 students. Colleges can provide swifter action for victims than the criminal courts. It should be the goal of schools to support victims.
In spite of its shortcomings, the UC system has a unique opportunity, as one of the most prolific higher education organizations, to institute statewide comprehensive change and influence other campuses.