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.


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