Editorial: Hey, Who’s Talking Here?

The Million Student March at UCSD on April 12th, 2016. (AJ Peterson / The Triton)

The motto of the University of California is “fiat lux” – “let there be light.” The motto, biblical in origin, acts as a challenge to future generations of students from former UC President Clark Kerr – can you rise to the occasion to educate yourself and solve both the problems affecting you now and the problems of the future?

As far as the this Editorial Board is concerned, the challenge can be posed in another way: can students act as the caretakers for their university and in this way, can they make transparency and education emblematic of the UC System?

At UC San Diego, we do not have our own school of journalism. But neither does UCLA, a campus well-known for The Daily Bruin, a paper that has published every school day since the mid-1920s. San Diego may be known for a guaranteed daily dose of sunshine, but the UCSD administration isn’t known for shining light in the crevices of institutional decisions. As a campus, we are not known for our incisive journalism in response to these matters: we are quiet, we lack institutional memory, and we often forget to pass on what institutional understanding we do have.

Ostensibly, UCSD has a strong news presence dedicated to transparency and campus visibility – our school has its own sanctioned news outlets, Triton Magazine and UCSD News. But those are meant to frame the school in the best light possible. This is unavoidable and there’s no need to be critical of sources created for the purpose of marketing the school’s achievements. There’s also nothing wrong with  us displaying those achievements from time to time. But we have an obligation as a student publication to cover and consider all news on campus, whether it be positive or negative.

A sentiment often expressed on campus is that UCSD must improve; we must better our campus. Perhaps part of the answer as to how we can better this campus involves D1 sports. But it is also worth considering: how can we improve the campus without a vibrant student press? UCLA would not be UCLA without The Daily Bruin; UC Berkeley would not be UC Berkeley without The Daily Californian (which happens to be only two years younger than the Harvard Crimson).

The importance of UCSD students knowing what’s happening on our campus and at a UC-wide level cannot be understated. That other campuses know what’s happening here as a point of reference is also absolutely crucial: if a problem is the same at multiple campuses, then why aren’t we standing together to address it? And who’s going to tell them what’s affecting us here? Certainly not our own administration.

UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s 2015-2016 Strategic Plan calls for a University culture that promotes a “respectful open dialogue, and challenges itself to take bold actions.” This doesn’t necessarily put the the onus on students to make it happen, but who else is going to do it?

Students aren’t apathetic, we just need to speak up and write it down. Students are the driving force behind a university – we are the driving force behind our University. We need to be able to form a coherent argument and be respectful of other’s perspectives. We need to challenge ideas with thoughtful debate, and we need to remember that we are not only students, we are the catalysts for change.

We believe that journalism, clear-eyed reporting and commentary on the true state of the university, is crucial to university transparency. Activism, too, is another important way of raising your voice and stating truths that need to be shared.

University of California President Janet Napolitano recently wrote in an op-ed to the Boston Globe that she “prefer[s] a campus that is loud to one that is quiet.”

So take the University up on it. Illuminate the decisions which were never quite made public and bring up the issues you know need to be addressed. Write an article, join a movement, or start your own. Our motto is fiat lux – it’s up to us to cast light into dark waters and draw out justice and truth.

Get loud, Tritons. Get loud.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Triton Editorial Board. If you’d like for us to publish a response, please do so here. If you’d like to comment on a different issue affecting the UCSD or UC community, you may also so here.