On November 18th, members of the Associated Students Council at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) voted to cut funding to all campus media publications due to possible “offensive speech” that the university might have to take responsibility for, specifically that of The Koala, a satirical student magazine.
“Ultimately, council decided that our money was better spent somewhere else,” Daniel Juarez, associate vice president of equity, diversity and inclusion said in an email.
Approximately $15,000 per year which the ASC had been providing toward nine campus publications will now be reallocated towards the ASC’s other projects, which include a housing office and a health and wellness office.
The ASC vote to cut funding took place just hours after UCSD administrators publicly denounced The Koala, calling it “profoundly repugnant, repulsive, attacking and cruel.”
We, the UC San Diego administration, strongly denounce the Koala publication and the offensive and hurtful language it chooses to publish. The Koala is profoundly repugnant, repulsive, attacking and cruel. The UC San Diego administration does not provide any financial support for the Koala, and we call on all students, faculty, staff and community members to join us in condemning this publication and other hurtful acts.
Campus media publications expressed concern that the UCSD administrator’s decision to censor campus media stems from differences in opinion and infringes upon their First Amendment rights. ASC president Dominick Suvonnasupa denied that was the case, saying that he encouraged all students to “say what they want to say… [but] we just didn’t think it was the best use of our resources to be funding that.”
The Koala is no stranger to controversy over its satirical articles. Just last month, the publication was called “racist” and “bigoted” for mocking the idea of “safe spaces” on campus.
Determined to not back down from administrative threats and dry old people who can't take jokes, The Koala responded with its own press statement:
Yesterday the UC San Diego administration released a statement denouncing The Motherfucking Koala. We thought it was very, very cute. What you may not know is that we knew about the statement days before it was published. We tasked our recruits to go undercover in order to infiltrate Ballsdeep Pradeep’s headquarters, documenting his meetings, files, and private items. They were incredibly successful. Behind the piles of dental dams, curry flavored lube, and empty cans of Gerber’s Vegetable Turkey Dinner flavored baby food, we found Prunedip’s computer. On that computer, we found the following chain of emails:
On Sun, 11/15/15, Ballsdeep Pradeep <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Subject: Koala’s At It Again, What Do I Do??
Well guys, looks like the Koala mentioned black people again, we may need to do some damage control…I’m thinking a nice denouncement message will calm the uppity student body.
Also, who’s got a hook for coke? These damn Del Mar hookers don’t know how to share.
Pradeep K. (The K stands for Kalamity) Khosla
Gabriella Hoffman, a UCSD ‘12 alumna and young conservative activist/blogger told The Daily Wire that she remembered The Koala being the subject of “a lot of controversy,” namely in the Winter 2010 academic quarter, when all campus publications at UCSD were denied funding for weeks after the magazine had portrayed support of a racially-themed party that allegedly mocked Black History Month.
“While most of their content was and is questionable, they are a satirical paper and should be treated as such,” Hoffman said. “Most students ignored them and those on campus today are free to ignore them. However, stripping them of funding could have a ripple effect--leading to other campus publications being stripped of their funding in the future, as seen during my freshman year. All free speech - no matter how offensive - must be permitted and protected on campus.”
ASC student senator Ryan Perez said that he voted to cut funding from student media in an effort to make the UCSD campus more “inclusive.”
“Being able to address campus climate and make a political statement while being more fiscally responsible and environmentally sustainable is consistent with my vision of a better UCSD,” Perez told the UCSD Guardian. “[I want] a more compassionate campus that aims to make a positive impact on this world.”
Andrew Deneris, editor-in-chief of the campus Muir Quarterly, said he disagreed.
“I don’t think the answer to speech and to media the council finds offensive and hateful to the campus climate is less speech and less media,” he said. “If you assume all of these orgs are reliant on A.S. funding, which presumably they are, what you’re doing is silencing all of these publications. You’re ensuring that they can’t print at all, or they have to make some sort of compromise in order to still be able to make their voices heard.”