CSUSM Students, Faculty Voice Concerns Over 'Koala'

The Koala Newspaper Known For Controversy At UCSD, SDSU

A student-run independent newspaper that has caused controversy at some San Diego-area colleges is making waves at another county campus.

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In the recent past, The Koala newspaper has sparked outrage at UC San Diego and San Diego State University. The paper was the top headline this week in the official newspaper at Cal State San Marcos.

Earlier this year, the 10News I-Team investigated The Koala after they went after the president of UCSD's student government, calling her "a fat whore." Now, CSUSM students told 10News the paper is up to the same kind of thing on their campus.

"It's not educational at all; it's just junk," said CSUSM student Arthur Silverstein.

"We can say that we just don't want it," said CSUSM student Chanel Bradley.

A letter to Cal State San Marcos President Karen Haynes, signed by students, faculty and staff, said that "The Koala's hateful, obscene and prejudicial content, coupled with the lack of action by the University to directly counter the effects of The Koala has created a hostile environment …"

The letter also pointed out what it described as aggressive behavior by those handing out the newspaper.

"The Koalans use aggressive and offensive distribution tactics, thrusting the tabloid into students' hands, and they become belligerent when students refuse of discard the tabloid," the letter also said.

"How can we continue to convey a message to new students coming in that our core values are community and inclusiveness when this paper's being allowed to be distributed on campus?" asked Silverstein.

"It is protected by First Amendment freedom of speech and press," said university spokeswoman Cathy Baur.

Baur told 10News that the university's hands are tied, and she said that if students feel physically threatened, they should report that to campus police.

But beyond that, she said there's nothing the school can do. She said campus police do monitor people handing out the newspaper when they are on campus.

Student government board member Audrey Juarez said students should simple refuse to read The Koala.

"Just refusing to be a part of that, I would advocate students to do that," she said.

10News asked for comment from Koala owner George Liddle, but he said Koala policy is that 10News would have to buy him beer beforehand and KGTV/ABC10 does not pay for interviews, no matter the currency.

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