Editorial: Racial slurs rock UCSD

Recently students at UC San Diego decided to throw an off-campus party called the Compton Cookout, meant to mock Black History Month. The original invitation posted on Facebook noted that attendees should dress as “ghetto chicks” and expect a menu of “chicken, kool-aid, and of course, watermelon.” While some may take this invite lightly and laugh it off, some members of the African American community aren’t laughing.

The use of racial slurs continued on SRTV, UCSD’s television channel. In response to the Compton Cookout event, the KoalaTV program aired a defense of the party of “an irreverent student group.” According to the Black Student Union at UCSD, the broadcast called critics of the party “ungrateful n****rs.” The situation further escalated when a scrap of cardboard in the TV station with the words “Compton lynching” was found.

The event was initially linked to Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity members, but now the fraternity is coming forward and denying any association with the controversial party. They do, however, promise to carry out disciplinary actions to those members involved. Their statement suggests that they did have some association with the party, so where did the associated members get the idea that this was acceptable behavior?

UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox noted that the university would “confront and appropriately respond to such acts.” UCSD’s attempt to clean up the fiasco by hosting a faculty teach-in backfired when African American students walked out of the event. The teach-in was held to inform students about the party and how events like this can be avoided in the future.
The walk-out shows that a group of students, not just blacks, are unsatisfied with the way the campus is responding. So what actions should UCSD take to rectify the harm done?

In private, we may all think racial slurs among friends is allowed or comical even. Common sense, however, tells us that in a public forum, especially one representing an educational institution, the same leniencies should not apply.

Finding a balance between being too politically correct and just a blatant disregard for an entire ethnic group is something journalists struggle with all the time. This is a perfect example of how the death of objectivity will spark outrage with someone in the community.

UCSD might consider requiring all fraternity events be pre-approved by student affairs. It would be a shame to sanction all greek organizations, as many fraternities and sororities contribute greatly to community service. In cases like this party, unfortunately, one event tarnishes the reputation of all.

Also, care should be taken on how events are advertised when representing a university. Some of the UCSD connection could have been avoided if the invitation hadn’t been directed to “the Regents community.”