ACLU Responds to UCSD Controversy on Several Fronts

This past week has been rife with news stories and campus actions related to the notorious off-campus party mocking Black History Month and a subsequent show on a student-run TV station supporting the party.

While the ACLU condemns the racial stereotypes promoted by the fraternity students who hosted the party, and acknowledges the depth of hostility and pain experienced by black students at the school, respect for the First Amendment is essential in the struggle for racial equality. The First Amendment exists to prevent a tyranny of the majority against minority speech. The First Amendment protected the speech of the civil rights movement against state repression, as it protects everyone’s speech today. We commend UCSD for speaking out strongly against racial bias and urge administrators to respect the First Amendment in doing so.

Just as strongly, however, we support the call for UCSD and the entire university system to implement structural changes to promote diversity of the student population and create a welcoming environment for all students, especially ethnically under-represented students.

Below please read the three follow-up letters we have sent to Chancellor Fox outlining our concerns about the stifling of student speech on campus and on the need for structural changes to promote diversity.

Below is our correspondence with Chancellor Fox. The nonprofit organization, FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)also wrote two letters to UCSD defending First Amendment rights on and off campus.

ACLU Letter Calling for Structural Changes at UCSD 2/25/10

ACLU Letter Regarding Stifling of Student Media – 2/24/10

ACLU Letter on Investigations of Students for Off-Campus Speech – 2/23/10