Monday, March 1, 2010

What we can learn from UCSD

This is a great post from Kat.

The events that have taken place at UC San Diego have been atrocious. Kat’s first hand account of what has happened is a real privilege for us to read. It is important as feminists that we continue to understand why these events happen, and what we can do to prevent them. This is not just an isolated incident, but evidence of oppression still common to women and people of color today.

In the words of our UCSD's VOX & Choices affiliate leaders:
"This is flat-out intimidation and HATE at work.

While this situation targets black students, it is NOT just a black issue. The undercurrents of violence are ones that can be felt by ALL PEOPLE.

Ending one oppression means ending ALL oppressions. The battles against sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, and so on, cannot be fought individually. They are all intrinsically connected, all a part of the same struggle."

In 1997, civil rights and women's rights leaders lost the battle to save affirmative action in California and Proposition 209 was passed. Since then the state's public university system has become more and more intolerant and hostile towards people of color and women.
Racism still persists. The hateful actions taken by students at UCSD highlight the structural racism in the UC system. On top of harvesting an environment where these events can happen, the campus also lacks a diverse student population. According to the Examiner, San Diego enrolled the fewest number black freshmen last fall and black students make up about 1.6% of the student body, which is comprised of about 23,000 students. These numbers are what need to change in order for these events to stop happening.

Losing Affirmative Action was devastating to California and its future, our future. We need to hold public institutions accountable for creating equal opportunity and ensuring a diverse, safe, vibrant campus communities. If UCSD -- and all UC's -- made serious commitments to creating rich diverse learning environments, these events could have been avoided.

Students at UCSD, women's rights and civil rights student groups and a broad coalition of other student groups, have engineered walk-outs, sit-ins, and other actions to condemn these actions and demand real systemic change to create long-term diversity plans and guarantee an end to the hostile environment at UCSD and campuses across the state.

Student leaders statewide are taking solidarity actions -- walk-outs and demonstrations -- with our sisters and brothers at UCSD to demand a statewide inventory of campus diversity -- or more importantly, a lack thereof in student, staff, and faculty populations and policies.

As a student not to far from UCSD this behavior worries me…I will continue to follow what is happening and stay in contact with Kat and affiliates.

You can read UCSD’s black student unions statement and list of demands here.

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