Tales From The Safe Space, Part 39 – UC San Diego, The Koala And The Battle To Censor Student Media

Danger Unsafe Space Sign - The Koala - UCSD

Student identity politics cultists and their craven university administration enablers are now gunning for student journalism and the free press

When University of California – San Diego student publication The Koala published this satirical article, they probably had some idea of the reaction that it would inevitably provoke:

Too long have trigger warnings plagued the airwaves. Too long has the no-blacks rule been removed from our campus. Too long have students not been free to offend their hypersensitive peers. “Spam Musubi only $1” and “Holy shit they opened up Starbucks” have replaced the long-gone chants of “Nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger.” Next week, that will all change.

Administrators at UC San Diego are creating an all new, state-of-the-art Dangerous Space for UCSD students who just don’t feel like their needs have been met on campus. In the past few weeks, the lack of dangerous space at UCSD has become increasingly apparent; students have been lashing out with puppy parades, non-violent protests, and other equally safe gimmicks. Safe spaces at UCSD are commonplace, and threaten individuals who do not like feeling safe. The logical next step has been taken by the university in creating a place to fairly support all UCSD students, continuing the university’s theme of inclusion and equality.

Located in the center of Library Walk, the new Dangerous Space is the ideal place for students to do whatever the hell they want. Senior Frank Yu gave The Koala the following statement: “The needs of dangerous-space students have been overlooked for generations, but UCSD is finally recognizing what means the most to 19-year-old Asian nerds: fucking a dead body with a picture of my waifu taped on the face.”

F. Yu isn’t alone. Not only will this new dangerous space allow people of all ethnicities and sizes – even unnaturally large sizes – it will allow for knifes, guns, opinions that might be different than yours, drug paraphernalia, sharp writing instruments, and explicit pornography.

The new Dangerous Space is guaranteed to get students excited for a good time, and will probably end like all good things do, with body mutilation and feelings of remorse.

Not world class humour, you might think, but certainly something that falls well within the boundaries of constitutionally protected speech in America.

(And from this blog’s perspective, an always-welcome attack by students on the illiberal cancer metastasising through the English-speaking Western academia.)

But on this occasion, the publication was not merely the recipient of angry protests and tearful accusations from “triggered” snowflake students. Instead, the entire weight of the university leadership, egged on by vengeful student protesters, came crashing down on the small student newspaper.

From Inside Higher Ed:

On Nov. 18, the university’s administrators responded to student complaints, condemning the Koala in a statement. “We, the UC San Diego administration, strongly denounce the Koala publication and the offensive and hurtful language it chooses to publish,” several administrators, including the university’s president, stated. The Koala responded to the denouncement by publishing a series of profanity-laden and slur-filled fictional emails meant to be written by administrators.

So far, so unsurprising. Just another craven university administration cowering in fear and issuing Stalin-like denunciations of alleged thoughtcrime at the behest of entitled student protesters.

But it gets worse:

In an attempt to starve out a controversial student publication without violating the First Amendment, the student government at the University of California at San Diego voted last week to cease any funding of student media.

The move — which First Amendment experts said does not pass constitutional muster, despite the student government’s maneuvering to avoid targeting a specific group — came after UCSD administrators condemned the most controversial of the university’s publications amid student protests about racism on campus.

In other words, the officious student council was not satisfied with having bullied the spineless UCSD university administration into denouncing humorous free speech, they wanted to starve The Koala of funding, effectively shutting it down.

In Britain, this would have been a slam-dunk. Game over. But in America, the pesky First Amendment makes such blatant retaliation illegal, and so instead the student government had the bright idea of ceasing funding to all student media organisations – essentially killing off an entire campus industry and ruining everyone’s fun in order to punish one organisation accused of causing “offence”.

The political machinations here are so crude that there is simply no disguising them, try as the student council might:

Student leaders appear to have been worried that if they just ended funding for the Koala, and did so based on its content and language, they would be violating the First Amendment. So later that day, the Associated Students Council voted to defund all student media by removing a section from its constitution about financial support of student media organizations.

The Associated Students provides about $15,000 per year, drawn from student fees, to several student media organizations, including student-run research journals and magazines. The twice-weekly student newspaper, the Guardian, is independent and was not affected.

“When this was brought to council floor, I made it a point to address that this issue was not to be tied to any particular organization,” Dominick Suvonnasupa, the student government’s president, said in an email. “The question was whether to fund media at all, and at the end of the meeting, council decided not to. AS decided to discontinue print media funding as it was determined that there were other areas of campus that could better benefit from the limited resources of the Associated Students. All campus media organizations have received suggestions of alternative funding sources.”

Uh-huh. Sure. And of course the Associated Students Council would have come to exactly the same conclusion, independently, had The Koala not published their heretical article back in November of 2015 (funding was withdrawn from all student publications a week later). Right.

Incidentally, these are exactly the same tawdry tactics which were once used by die-hard segregationists during the last gasp of Jim Crow, where some racist whites chose to privatise their school districts and close their public amenities rather than submit to federally mandated integration. Only now it is moralising student activists and their cowardly enablers within academic leadership who would rather burn all student media to the ground than allow one publication to continue posting material which they find “offensive”. But don’t expect today’s virtue-signalling student activists to note the irony.

Just as many British leftists are desperate for Britain to vote to remain in the European Union in the coming referendum because deep down they don’t think that the people are capable of making the “right choices” if proper democracy was restored with Brexit, so these Social Justice and Identity Politics cultists on both sides of the Atlantic seem to think that fellow students are somehow unable to handle free speech, and that it must therefore be withdrawn or highly circumscribed in order to prevent “harm” from occurring.

Fortunately, the San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is now riding to the rescue. From The Daily Caller:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the University at California at San Diego (UCSD) for defunding a student publication that offended UCSD students.

[..] The ACLU alledges this action runs afoul of the First Amendment.

“The student government violated the First Amendment in two ways,” a statement from the ACLU read. “First, it targeted the student press by stripping it of revenue that remains available to support other student speech. Second, it retaliated against the editorial viewpoint of The Koala, an action that is not immunized by inflicting collateral damage on all student media.”

Although the organization expressed sympathy with those offended, it asserted The Koala piece was “classic protected speech.”

“Trauma is real,” said David Loy, legal director of the ACLU in San Diego and Imperial Counties, “but censorship is not the cure, because it inevitably blows back on those it purports to protect.”

It is good to see the ACLU come down on the right side of this issue and take up the case of this small student-run publication. One does not have to approve of The Koala, or this article in particular, to decry the way that the UC San Diego student government, drunk on power, sought first to shut down the paper and then effectively silence all campus media as a collective punishment for the heretical editorial viewpoint of one outlet.

The ACLU’s case seems quite watertight, and it is likely that the lawsuit will succeed, but student protesters will not take a defeat lying down. If they cannot accomplish their primary objective (shutting down the offensive publication) or secondary objective (suppressing student journalism altogether) they will come back with a third strategy, and a fourth.

These people are relentless. Caving in to their shrill and authoritarian demands encourages them to come back for more, while rebutting them only encourages the snowflakes to shout louder. All of which might be admirable, if only their cause was a just one. But despite the name, there is nothing “just” about the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics.

On the contrary, it is a poisonous, tawdry ideology which preaches personal fragility, collective guilt, voluntary re-segregation and a rampant culture of victimhood. And as such it must be actively opposed on all fronts.

God speed the ACLU lawsuit, and may The Koala survive to publish many more editions filled with edgy, unapologetically provocative student humour.


Safe Space Notice - 2

Top Image: The Koala

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