University officials condemn racist acts on campus

March 24, 2010 7:55:05 PM PDT
Budget cuts and climbing fees have dominated the discussion at recent University of California Regents meetings, but on Wednesday the focus was on racism. It is a problem so serious the UC president outlined specific actions in response to intolerance.

Videos showing UC San Diego students protesting have been plastered all over YouTube. They stem from two incidents: a barbecue event mocking African-Americans and a noose left hanging on a library bookshelf.

Wednesday, students were heard by UC Regents.

"It's really toxic. Students don't feel safe going to class. I personally did't feel safe going to class. Students don't feel safe in the dorms," says David Richards, a student.

A few students say racism is nothing new at UC campuses. Some criticized the administration for not doing enough to stop it.

"Those are my demands. These are our demands. You all need to understand this is not a [quote] 'University,' UCSD administration handling the situation, these are students bearing the work, bearing all... bearing... I can't... I apologize," says Richards.

One UC Regent said Proposition 209, which did away with affirmative action, has kept African-Americans out of the UC system.

"When we know that the current enrollment of African Americans in the university system-wide is less than four percent," says Eddie Island, a regent.

But one student said admitting more African-American students is nothing more than a band-aid solution.

"If you admit more black students, they are still not going to come to UCSD knowing that the campus climate is going to be hostile toward them," says Fnann Keflezighi, a student.

Still, the UC president now wants to make some changes to the admissions policy, making it less about test scores and grades and more about evaluating each student.

"That's why it's called holistic. You look at the whole student and don't say 'Hey, there are two numbers that summarize your whole life,'" says UC president Mark Yudof.

These possible changes are already being criticized.

"It's not our admissions process to put a noose in the San Diego library, it's not our admission process that brought about these parties in San Diego. Our problem is far deeper, far, far deeper than that," says David Simmons, a faculty representative.

State school superintendent Jack O'Connell says racial issues need to be addressed early on.

"If we wait to simply address these issues to the university system it's too late," says O'Connell.


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