Turning Point USA Founder speaks at UC Berkeley
Charlie Kirk — a conservative political commentator and founder of the conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA — spoke at UC Berkeley on Wednesday night.
Kirk arrived at the university as part of his “Educate, Don’t Mandate” tour, which advocates against mask mandates on high school and college campuses.
The event was free but ticketed, and information regarding its location was only given to individuals following the purchase of a ticket.
Kirk founded Turning Point USA in 2012 and has since helmed the organization to promote conservative ideas on high school and college campuses. Kirk also faced controversy over promoting false claims regarding voter fraud and the COVID-19 pandemic as well as spreading incorrect statistics on his personal account on the site 8kun, according to The Daily Californian.
UC Davis wins lawsuit filed by PETA
UC Davis won a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), in which the nonprofit attempted to acquire unpublished research media from the university regarding animal research.
PETA filed the lawsuit in 2019 to acquire research materials such as photos and videos from the UC Davis Department of Psychology and California National Primate Research Center. The court issued its ruling on Jan. 11 and appropriate time was given for PETA to appeal the ruling, which they declined to do, according to the UC Davis website.
The court’s ruling stated that releasing the videos would “undermine academic freedom and the scientific process and would put researchers at risk of physical harm and inhibit future research,” and there was minimal public interest in viewing the videos, according to the UC Davis website.
PETA has not released a statement on the court ruling but did publish allegations of animal abuse against UC Davis laboratories on Dec. 15.
According to the university website, activist groups’ attempts to obtain materials related to animal research sometimes lead to researchers closing their labs or leaving the field due to harassment, and the UC Davis ruling against such attempts is a rare occurrence.
“UC Davis is one of the few institutions to have stood by its decision to protect its researchers from such tactics and is thought to be the only entity to have achieved a complete legal victory to date,” the website said.
UC Irvine drops mask mandate despite backlash from student leadership
UC Irvine announced its decision to lift its mask mandate, changing the designation from “mandatory” to “recommended,” on March 19 amidst disapproval of the change from Associated Students of UC Irvine (ASUCI) and UC Irvine Associated Graduate Students (AGS).
AGS met with the UCI administration to discuss masking policies and academic accommodations in February and received answers with little substance, according to Canton Winer, vice president of finance of the AGS executive board, in an interview with New University.
“One of the main issues we talked about in that meeting was whether masks were going to be around for the rest of the academic year — they didn’t offer that information, we asked them,” Winer said in the interview.
Winer took issue with the lack of proper communication between the university and student representatives and the lack of consideration for immunocompromised and disabled students in the decision-making process. Both AGS and ASUCI shared Winer’s sentiment.
The university did not respond to the specific accusation but reaffirmed its “prevention and surveillance efforts” in its update to spring quarter COVID-19 protocols on its website.
“As we make these changes to COVID-19 prevention protocols, the campus will maintain a number of our prevention and surveillance efforts including daily symptom checking, COVID-19 testing available for any reason on a drop-in or appointment basis, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine support for students,” the website stated.
A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the April 14 edition of the Daily Nexus.