Koala vs. Khosla: We need more speech, not less, to address the undercurrents of hate in our schools. See the federal complaint here.
Offensive UC Newspaper Demands Funding
By JON CHOWN
June 02, 2016
SAN DIEGO (CN) — The Koala, a satirical student newspaper whose motto is
"The Worst in Collegiate Journalism Since 1982!" claims the University
of California San Diego cut its funding to punish it for its speech.
Koala, primarily distributed on the UC San Diego campus, is one of
several publications supported by the Associated Students of UCSD. It
regularly satirizes issues involving ethnicity, sexual orientation,
religion and even people with disabilities.
Its content has
drawn complaints for years, but it's managed to survive. But
administrators' decision last year cut all funding to student
publications may have killed it, unless The Koala can win what it has
proclaimed "the trial of the fucking century."
complaint in Federal Court seeks an injunction against UCSD Chancellor
Pradeep Khosla, Associated Students of UCSD President Dominick
Suvonnasupa, the Associated Students of UCSD Financial Controller
"There are two core issues: freedom of the press
and freedom of speech," The Koala's attorney David Loy said. "The
university violated both by discriminating against the student press and
discriminating against the viewpoint of one student newspaper."
Loy, with the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said
the ACLU took the Koala's case because of the speech and free press
issues, and that the case is clearly laid out in emails and online
The college has tried to shut down The Koala before. In
2002, it tried to revoke its registration as a student organization
after a member took photos of another student organization's meeting and
made fun of it.
In 2010, all student print media were suspended
after The Koala broadcast an invitation for an event called "The
Compton Cookout," and asked participants to wear chains, cheap clothes
and be loud. Women were told to dress up like "ghetto chicks." That
stirred outrage among the African-American community on campus.
threads cited in the complaint reveal a discussion between
administrators on how to quash the paper, dating back to the 2010
The Koala's Nov. 15, 2016 story, "UCSD Unveils New Dangerous Space on Campus" uncorked a new flood of complaints and a renewed effort to stop it.
The story mocked UCSD's new "safe spaces" where students allegedly are excused from restrictions on insensitivity.
predictably offensive story reported: "Located in the center of Library
Walk, the new Dangerous Space is the ideal place for students to do
whatever the hell they want," then quoted a fictitious "Asian nerd," F.
Yu, who enjoyed necrophilia.
In the interest of fair and
balanced reporting, perhaps, the complaint cites 15 student complaints
against the Koala, including: "Knowing that my school is funding such a
heinous magazine is not okay and I stand by my fellow students to get it
off this campus. Please cease funding for this awful publication."
And: "I would like to see UCSD dismantle The Koala immediately."
"Pull the funds, and make them turn to personal donations if they way
to continue this nonsense. They have the UC stamp/icon on the paper.
UCSD already has a bad racial climate and this is an obvious contributor
that can be eradicated."
And: "I would like the University to
shut down the koala newspaper and the creators of the newspaper should
be punished by their college deans."
Two days after the
"Dangerous Space" story was published, Chancellor Khosla and other top
administrators denounced The Koala "profoundly repugnant,
repulsive, attacking and cruel." The UC San Diego Associated Student
Council quickly decided to cut funding to all student-run publications.
UCSD student newspaper, The Guardian, reported that Associated Student
Council President Dominick Suvonnasuna said the administrators' attack
had no bearing on the Student Council's quick decision to cut funding,
that it was a coincidence.
The Koala doubts that.
offensive or outrageous it may have been, the article remains protected
free speech on topical issues of public concern," the complaint states.
Koala wants the university enjoined from refusing to provide funding
for campus publications or "otherwise interfering" with the First
Amendment, plus attorneys' fees and costs.