UC Acts To Ease Racial Tension



A UC Berkeley faculty member has been chosen by UC administrators to help resolve recent incidents of intolerance on the UCSD campus.

Christopher Edley, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, was [appointed to provide counsel to UC President Mark G. Yudof and UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. Edley’s assistance was determined necessary after a chain of racially-motivated events around the UC were sparked when a group of students hosted a party titled “Compton Cookout” at UCSD. A week later, a noose and pillowcase resembling a KKK hood were discovered, separately, on the UCSD campus.

These acts spurred several protests and sit-ins on campus, eventually leading the UCSD Black Student Union to develop a list of recommendations to increase minority representation and improve the campus climate.

According to a press release, Edley, who served as a congressional appointee on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and worked with two White House administrations on civil rights, hopes to assess and monitor the situation at UCSD and discover the underlying causes of the incidents.

After a preliminary visit to the San Diego campus, Edley told the UC Board of Regents that he was impressed by the campus’s student leadership, which has been working on the difficult task of dissolving racial tensions

“The issues San Diego faces are present throughout UC and the nation,” Edley said in a press release. “This is not rocket science. It is harder than rocket science.”

Peter King, the media director at the UC Office of the President, said these incidents were not unique to San Diego or even the state of California. However, he said, the racial problems need to be confronted.

“There is work to be done, but it’s doable,” King said. “There will need to be constant gardening.”

Based on Edley’s feedback, Yudof outlined strategies at this month’s Regents meeting to build tolerance throughout the UC system and increase the number of underrepresented students at UC campuses. Aside from seeking scholarship funds from UC alumni, Yudof also requested a system-wide review of undergraduate admissions procedures.

Furthermore, Yudof said in a press release that he has confidence in UC chancellors’ abilities to address the climate of their specific campuses. He also plans to continue working with students in an effort to develop appropriate campus hate crime legislation.

“It’s time for the vast majority of us, for those of us who revere diversity and tolerance, civility and respect — the true values of this university — to stand up and say, ‘enough,'” Yudof said in a press release.

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