UCSD Needs Culture Exposure - Voice of San Diego

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UCSD Needs Culture Exposure

Students are generally pretty open minded, but they are also young and have little exposure to cultures different than their own.

I went to the University of Florida for undergrad and UCSD for grad school.

Having grown up in liberal CA, I was shocked at the blatant racism at Florida (e.g. racially motivated fistfights, Confederacy themed frat parties, hearing people say the N-word left and right, etc.), and that there really was no public outcry. The vast majority of students were not that way, but they also wouldn’t make someone in their social network a pariah if they were (there was tacit acceptance of such beliefs).

UCSD is a much different school, but it’s clear that African-American students feel alienated there. My feeling is that a lot of UCSD students, (mostly East Asian, white, and South Asian) could probably benefit from diversity training during freshman orientation. UCSD students are generally pretty open minded, but they are also young and have little exposure to cultures different than their own. There should be formal efforts to break down silos and create bridges between groups.

The KOALA is responsible for a lot of the discomfort on campus, and it has been a problem for years. This is a student publication (like a newspaper, but not newsworthy) which tries to offend everyone possible, just to get a reaction. It is 100 percent funded by student fees, but if you polled students on campus, 99 percent would be in favor of yanking its funding. I’m generally in favor of First Amendment rights, but in the case of the KOALA, its rights are encroaching on the rights of others. If it can find private funding then more power to it, but it certainly shouldn’t be supported by tuition and tax dollars.

This article points out that most talented African-American students find UCSD undesireable and one can only assume that recent events have exacerbated that sentiment. It’s hard for me to imagine an African-American high school student choosing UCSD over UCLA or Berkeley; there is a general perception that those schools are more diverse, more representative of the way society actually is.

Whether there should be modification of admissions to grow the African-American student body at UCSD is an incredibly controversial topic, since giving one person greater opportunity means taking it away from someone else. I appreciate both sides of that issue and both are valid.

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