Seuss Celebration Cancelled After Racist Acts At UCSD

Simmering resentment over racist acts at UC San Diego prompted the school to cancel this week's annual celebration of Dr. Seusss' birthday, as officials prepare for more protests on Thursday.

Ted Geisel, the La Jolla cartoonist who became famous as Dr. Seuss, would have been 106 years old on Tuesday. A library on campus is named for him.

Campus tensions over a party that poked fun at Black History Month were inflamed on Friday when a noose was discovered on the seventh floor of the library. The discovery prompted students to stage a sit-in at the UCSD chancellor's office.

Earlier in the week, leaders of the UCSD Black Student Union led a walkout of a university-sponsored teach-in that was designed to calm anxious students.

Dolores Davies, a UCSD library spokeswoman, said today that Audrey Geisel, the author's widow, asked that the event be called off this year because of the racial unrest.

"It was at her request that we cancel the party," Davies said. "We wanted to honor Ms. Geisel's wishes."

On Thursday, students at college campuses across the state plan to demonstrate against education budget cuts.

Many of those who took part in the teach-in walkout promoted March 4 as a day for the students' voices to be heard on both the budget and racial matters.

Blacks, who make up less than 2 percent of the students at UCSD, said they didn't feel safe on the campus and submitted a list of more than 30 demands to the administration.

A coed who admitted putting the knotted rope in the Geisel Library was suspended, and the incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime and an act committed "with intent to terrorize," said campus spokesman Rex Graham.

School officials also were looking into whether the off-campus party broke campus rules. A fraternity that was said to have sponsored the party has denied any involvement.

Saturday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger condemned recent "intolerable acts of racism and incivility" at University of California campuses, including San Diego, Davis and Irvine.

"I am deeply troubled by the horrific incidents that recently took place on various campuses of the University of California system," he said in a statement.

"The acts of racism and intolerance that we have witnessed are completely unacceptable and I join with the University of California president, chancellors and student leaders in condemning these terrible incidents," he said. "There is no excuse for this kind of behavior in our system of higher education or anywhere else and it will not be tolerated."

Earlier this week at UC Davis, a Jewish student found a swastika carved into her dorm room door, days after 11 Irvine students were arrested for interrupting a talk by Israel's ambassador Michael Oren at the Irvine campus.

Some Jewish groups have said Irvine's chancellor has not done enough to counter alleged anti-Semitic actions on the campus and have called for a boycott of the school.

Timeline Of Events From UCSD:

Fact Sheet on Past and Recent Events that Occurred at UCSD

On Monday, Feb. 15, an off-campus party was held named the “Compton Cookout,” where UC San Diego students participated in are producing racist, classist and misogynistic stereotypes of the black community and intentionally organized this party to mock the ongoing celebrations of Black History Month.

The “Compton Cookout” and the two other “private” parties that were planned for the following weekend involved hundreds of UCSD students, which were framed as an expression of contempt for Black History Month and the free use of hate speech.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, between the hours of 11 p.m. and midnight a group of students on the UCSD Student Run Television Program (SR-TV) made statements in support of the “Compton Cookout” party, by stating racial epithets targeted towards the black community and expressed the support for such hate speech.

On Friday, Feb. 19, a piece of cardboard was found at the UCSD SR-TV office stating “Compton Lynching”, which posed as a direct threat to the black student population at UCSD.

The same weekend that these parties occurred, UCSD’s Black Student Union (BSU) and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) hosted their annual joint high school conference, where hundreds of high school students came together from all over south California to empower students through educational workshops, caucus spaces and influential speakers to ensure that there are safe spaces for students of color on this campus.

The undergraduate black student population at UCSD has never reached above 3 percent since its founding in 1960. This past fall 2009, only 1.3 percent of the 4000 plus undergraduate students admitted to UCSD were black students. Black students currently represent less than 2 percent of the undergraduate population here at UCSD, a percentage that is scarcely better than the 1 percent representation of black people among faculty and academic professionals.

In 2006, the UCSD Concilio composed of Chicano/a and Latino/a students, faculty and staff at UCSD presented a list of demands to the Chancellor to help with the Campus Climate. Many of these demands are repeated in the following campaign.

Earlier this year, the UCSD BSU, with the larger statewide coalition, organized and coordinated the “Do UC Us?” campaign in an effort to increase the numbers of black students on the UCSD campus. The “Do UC Us?” campaign clearly addressed the issues of campus climate at UCSD compiled with admission statistics and criteria, diversity and yield reports from the university through the form of student testimonial, demands and student-initiated programs to increase the yield of black students.

Since these events have occurred, many students have reinstated that UCSD must prioritize creating a healthier campus climate to address the needs of historically underrepresented communities.

For further information on the events that occurred, please visit: stopracismucsd.wordpress.com