Biggest News Stories of the Decade

Biggest News Stories of the Decade

The 2010s will certainly be remembered as a decade of newsworthy events, many of which will have lasting effects for generations to come. Below are a handful of the biggest news stories that have impacted UC San Diego students throughout the decade.

The Compton Cookout

Student protesting during Black Winter, 2010 ||

In Winter Quarter 2010, a racist fraternity party called “The Compton Cookout” was advertised in an effort to mock Black History Month and to stereotype African-American students. The subsequent demonstrations and protests came to be known as Black Winter, and included students and faculty protesting the administration to take a stand against on campus racism.

As a result of the protests, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requirement was implemented into the core curriculum for all undergraduate students. Likewise, several student resource centers, like the Raza Resource Centro, and murals celebrating diversity were created around campus.


The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was signed into law as an executive order under the Obama administration in 2012. Authorized by the then Secretary of Homeland Security and current University of California President Janet Napolitano, the policy allowed individuals brought to the United States unlawfully as children to defer deportation and to allow them to obtain work permits, with the ability to renew their presence in the country every two years.

Under the Trump administration, however, the policy has been under attack, with plans to phase out the program entirely beginning at the onset of his presidency. Napolitano has led the UC system in suing the Trump administration to prevent the cancellation of the program, which has made its way up to the Supreme Court. A decision on the matter is expected in Spring 2020.

Trump Presidency

Arguably one of the most polarizing figures in modern American politics, the election of President Donald Trump sparked numerous demonstrations from the start of his inauguration, including the now annual Women’s March.

Trump has brought in a number of changes to the United States, as well as to the image of the presidency. Under his administration, Trump has removed the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement, implemented a travel ban affecting a number of predominantly Muslim countries, and has publicly encouraged the rollback of the Affordable Care Act. In Fall 2019, the House of Representatives began an impeachment inquiry against President Trump following a whistleblower alleging that Trump had abused his power by threatening to withhold previously approved military aid to the Ukraine if President Volodymyr Zelensky did not pursue an investigation into Joe Biden’s son.

LGBT+ Rights

Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate the ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015 || Getty Images

The 2010s saw a number of gains and losses for the LGBT+ community. While same-sex marriage was legalized in California following a federal court overrule of Proposition 8 in 2010 and a redefining of marriage in the state constitution in 2014, the same would not be legalized nationwide until 2015 with Obergefell v. Hodges, which saw the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

However, progress for LGBT+ rights has been slow for many other issues. Bathroom bills, which are aimed to prevent transgender individuals from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity, have popped up for debate throughout the decade in states and localities like North Carolina and Texas. Additionally, the Trump administration has banned transgender citizens from serving in the United States military.

Me Too Movement

While the phrase #MeToo was first used in 2006 by activist and sexual assault survivor Tarana Burke, the movement against sexual harrassment and sexual assault came to a boiling point in 2017 following reports from the New York Times and the New Yorker of widespread allegations of sexual-abuse against Harvey Weinstein. 

Following the reports, many people were inspired to come forward with their own experiences of sexual-abuse calling out people ranging from coworkers to former NBC anchor Matt Lauer to Donald Trump. The accusations have sparked conversation throughout all levels of society, leading many workplaces to implement changes in the way that equity and inclusion are handled to ensure a safe workplace environment.

School Shootings

Student protest against gun violence in Winter, 2018 || UCSD Guardian

School shootings were devastatingly commonplace throughout the decade. Some of the more prominent, like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, led to national demonstrations calling for legislative action to prevent further violent attacks.

The results of the protests so far have been mixed on the Congressional level, where many legislators have close ties to the National Rifle Association, the largest national proponent of the Second Amendment. However, protests on the local level, including one in Winter Quarter 2018 at UCSD, have gained support from local leaders, with gun violence prevention being a winning campaign message in the 2018 midterm elections. 

Marijuana Legalization

Cannabis became much more mainstream in the 2010s. Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado in 2012, excitement over the possibilities to use the infamous drug without penalty, as well as the potential for the decriminalization of its use, quickly spread across the country. California, which was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, legalized recreational use of the drug in 2016 with Proposition 64, which went into effect in 2018.

At the start of the new decade, 11 states, along with the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam, will all have legalized recreational cannabis in spite of its federal prohibition. Likewise, in January 2020, 15 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands will have decriminalized the drug.

Pradeep Khosla

Pradeep Khosla || UC San Diego

Pradeep Khosla became Chancellor of UC San Diego at the beginning of Fall Quarter 2012. Since assuming the position, Khosla has brought in a number of changes to the campus, most notably pursuing the expansion of the university through numerous construction projects including the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Community and Mesa Nueva. The chancellor also began the transition of UCSD being a Division 1 university, a process which began with the acceptance into the Big West Conference and will conclude with all sports teams transitioning to that level by the end of 2020.

More recently, Khosla has come under fire for allegations of exhibiting bully behavior towards campus employees in 2019. In spite of this, the chancellor has remained a controversial yet beloved figure amongst many in the student body, sparking numerous memes, including the Twitter account @UCScamDiego.

Artwork by Yui Kita, Angela Liang, and Jessica Ni for the UCSD Guardian.

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