Compton Cookout at UCSD Stirs up Controversy

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Landmark UCSD Library by Ken McCown via Flickr

Landmark UCSD Library by Ken McCown via Flickr

A party thrown by members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity called  the “Compton cookout”, has been stirring up a lot of turmoil at UCSD. (**Correction** Pi Kappa Alpha denies involvement in the event, although they acknowledge that individual members of the fraternity may have attended)

Yesterday, the funding for 33 student media outlets on campus was temporarily frozen after a TV show that ridiculed the outrage over the party aired last week.

The show was broadcast by the Koala, a humor publication that has printed racist comments since the early 1980s, testing the limits of First Amendment rights.

The show in question involved members of the Koala criticizing black students of being ungrateful and using a derogatory term for blacks.

The whole controversy began on February 16 when the invitation for the “Compton cookout” began to be publicized. The invitation told partygoers to wear cheap baggy clothes, chains and other clothing stereotypically thought to be worn by rappers and black males.

The invitation also told invitees to talk loudly and for women to act like “ghetto chicks-Ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes…” the wording from the invitation was circulated by offended students and verified by UCSD officials.

Tensions have been mounting on campus due to the decision of administrators not to punish the fraternity members responsible for the party. Jeff Gattas, UCSD’s Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs stated on February 16 that because the party was not a UCSD sanctioned event, they had no reason to penalize the students.

According to The Guardian, UCSD’s student newspaper, as of February 22, administrators are investigating whether the students involved in the party planning violated the school’s code of conduct. News that comes after the racial slur was broadcast on the school’s channel 18 and the Black Student Union submitted a six page list of demands to the university.

On February 19, 200 students participated in a protest led by the BSU. That same day, the controversy reached Sacramento where assemblyman Isadore Hall, (D-Compton), issued a statement: “These acts of racism and sexism will not be tolerated in California or anywhere in the United States, I stand with fellow legislative leaders in publicly condemning those responsible for this act of hate and demanding full accountability for their actions.”

The whole incident is garnering national attention for UCSD and not helping its struggle to recruit more black students and professors. Currently only 1.3 percent of undergraduates are black. The school is trying to do as much damage control as possible. Over the past weekend the university created the website and is having a “Teach-in” today from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm.


  1. Betty W.

    February 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

    You should fact check your story. It wasn’t thrown by members of Pi Kappa Alpha.

  2. Amanda

    February 24, 2010 at 10:01 am

    It may not have been thrown by Pi Kappa Alpha but they and other frats still participated and it still doesn’t make it ok to be a racist.

  3. ..

    February 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    And it doesn’t make it okay for people to stereotype frats as consisting of predominately ‘privileged’ spoiled white kids that throw racist parties all day. Pi Kappa Alpha at UCSD might have a reputation for being that way, but it does have African American and Latino American members. Before you all sympathize with the media’s proclaimed ‘victim,’ why don’t take time realize what is really going on for yourselves.

  4. Ty12_879

    February 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    The members of PIKE at UCSD are douche bags. Although the fraternity itself may not have sanctioned the event, the a** clowns that threw the party were members of the fraternity. I can’t wait to see those dip sh**s thrown off of campus. On that day, we will have the first annual “PIKE Cookout” in which we all wear XXS t-shirts to make us look big, gel up our hair, wear aviator sun glasses and call eachother bra.

  5. alyssa

    February 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    check out the UCSD Guardian’s extensive coverage on this event:

  6. Anonymous

    February 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    First of all “PIKE Cookout” is just as much of a wrong statement as “Compton Cookout” but I can clearly see why the men of Pi Kappa Alpha rejected you and second of all it is very sad that people are huffing and puffing over some silly college themed party because they clearly have nothing better to do with there time. I really wonder if so much fuss would have been made if it was an “over the boarder” party or “white trash” party. This is just another sorry excuse for the media to target the greek system.

  7. Montana

    February 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    You real can’t take these uneducated UCSD white trailer trash anywhere. This is what happens when more than one of these guys puts their minds together.

    Oh, where exactly was a speech going on? Thats right, no where, but keep plucking that chicken.

    Or as Carri said “It’s a plot by the fundamentalist rightwing party of tyranny called Republicans. They foment hate, they sneer, they make excuses for their behavior and blame everyone else. They advocate the supremacy of their America – a lily-white America. They are scared and frightened becuase (gasp) a black man has been elected to the White House. They are losing conrol and like cornered animals, they are lashing out. This is the national leadership from whom these studants take their cues.”

  8. Benito Juarez

    February 25, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I will tell you what I have seen these last few days, I saw people from different backgrounds, my children, my brothers and sisters come together in solidarity, and got the message heard.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help my brother in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help my brother, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need, when you saw a wrong you tried to correct it, you may argue the methods but not the reasons. I know God will not discriminate by country of origin, our sex, our orientation, color of our skin, or our religion as men do.

  9. MC Ren

    February 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Come on now…. I live in San Diego and UCSD a party school or lacking racial diversity makes me laugh. First of all UCSD is a geek school. A bunch of biology student etc… Heck a huge population are anime lovin asians who are more intersted in playing warcraft instead of partying. One more thing why do the blacks always compalin about inequality. They seem to have separated themselves from all other minorities. They require special treatment vs their other non-white counter parts. As for the stereotype of an african american in compton… please prove me wrong that it did not pain a correct picture.

  10. Marc

    March 2, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I’m confused, what is racist about it?

    I mean, if it is offensive when someone imitates the actions of blacks, then why do blacks act like that in the first place? Are you being real with yourselves? I live in Detroit, everything they told the guests to do couldn’t be more correct.

    Black history month is a joke in the first place, someone needs to make fun of it. What history? We were slaves, then did nothing of value after that?

    Maybe some of you idiots would change your mind after living in Compton, or Detroit. Try it.

  11. ac

    March 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

    What do you think would happen if a group of blacks threw a “Cracker” theme party? It would be just as offensive, but white people would not be allowed to be offended. In fact, if one white student objected to such a party, there would probably be a huge civil rights rally led by the Black Student Union. There is plenty of racism in this country, but there is also a major double standard depending on the race of the victim. Michael Richards lost what was left of his career for yelling racial slurs at some obnoxious black people, but the Wayans brothers are allowed to make “White Chicks,” which is basically the black man’s menstrual show.

  12. Train Mon!

    March 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm


    You’re absolutely right–EVERYBODY in Compton and Detroit acts, looks and sounds like that. Oh yeah–you’re the expert!

    Quite frankly, you’re the epitome of why nobody can have an open and honest dialogue about race relations in this country–you think by living in an area–or even just traveling through an area–for X number of years makes you an “expert” on the area. *NEWS FLASH* Not only can one not judge an entire city by one neighborhood, one cannot judge an entire neighborhood by one STREET. And that goes for everywhere–not just in the Black and Hispanic communities. Sure, there are plenty of homogeneous communities in this country, but even still you find differences in socioeconomic class as well as how people conduct themselves.

    Honestly, did you even see “White Chicks.” First of all, it was about two fledgling Black detectives who, in typical Hollywood cliché fashion, do a last-ditch-effort-to-save-my-job of
    going undercover in drag as White chicks to infiltrate an upper-society culture to bring down a white-collar criminal–even for such a simple movie, HARDLY on par with the old minstrel movies of yesteryear that did NOTHING but make a direct mockery of so-called Black culture. I’m not saying I totally agree with the concept, but you’re comparing apples to tangerines for crying out loud!
    And furthermore, if you actually did watch the movie, then you’d also realize that it DID make a mockery of Black culture as well, playing up the usual stereotype of the rich Black ball player/musical artist, in this case football player, always lusting after White women.

  13. Marc

    March 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Who judged a whole city by a few people? I’m judging a whole city by the majority of people. But even when you’re white and base your opinion of blacks on how they act, dress, speak, you’re racist. You can have all of the reasons in the world do dislike them, and valid ones, and you’re racist.

    Any guesses as to why Detroit, and other black populated areas are such shitholes? It must be because of those frat boys holding barbecues and keeping them down, and shit. Blacks are violent and dumb. What can you say about that? It is a fact. It’s not an opinion. Both are proven. I could walk outside my door and take a picture of the first 10 black people I see and 9 of them would be exactly as these kids stereotyped, maybe even 10.

    But I guess ‘more color’ on campus, as suggested by moronic students, is the answer. Letting even more affirmative action, under-achieving, undeserving blacks into good schools is exactly the answer!

    Black culture is a mockery, it amazes me how you even defend it. Referencing shitty movies like White Chicks is the dumbest thing ever. Who gives a shit. You may label them as bitches, spoiled, whatever. But at least they aren’t out killing people, making neighborhoods almost uninhabitable, etc. There is no black culture on the planet that is not a failure. They need other races around just to survive. You should know your place. Keep it real.

  14. captain K

    March 3, 2010 at 11:22 am

    couple thoughts….

    so when the fraternity throws a hoe-down, or southern mardi gras party are they being offensive to ‘country boys’ or ‘southerners’
    what if they have a toga party? should the Greek ancestry club be offended?
    how about if they have a carribean themed party? should haitian student have an uprising because they are insensitive to the earthquake?

    Too bad the White Student Union didnt make a statement, oh wait… what’s wrong with that picture?

  15. confused

    March 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    how do you know it wasnt a suicide threat?

  16. SK

    March 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    This party was about black American stereotypes. But there are also bad stereotypes about fraternities; that they are full of tacky, immature, ignorant, provincial, loud-talking, insecure, sexist, right-wing, beer-guzzling, slaves to a childish pseudo-Greek hierarchy. This incident doesn’t reflect negatively on African Americans, but does reinforce a lot of those bad feelings about frat boys.

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