Approximately 80 students gathered on Library Walk in protest of anti-Blackness at UC San Diego and in the country by linking arms and blocking the pathway on April 4.
The demonstration, organized by the Black Student Union (BSU), was an effort to not only highlight instances of anti-Blackness at UCSD, but also the killing of and absence of justice for Black folks like Stephon Clark in Sacramento, who was fatally shot eight times by police officers in his grandmother’s backyard.
Participants met in front of the Black Legacy Mural on the 50 year remembrance of Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s assassination, before moving to Library Walk. The student protesters chanted names of victims of police brutality, celebrated Black culture, and chanted “Who had a dream?” Students held signs such as “OASIS is anti-Black,” “SPACES is anti-Black,” “Love us like you love our culture,” and “Police the police.”
Three students from the Academic Connection of Engineers (ACE) who were tabling, approached the action and asked to be educated about OASIS, in reference to the critical signs.
“I always refer members to utilize OASIS but now I’m learning more about the program,” said Arturo Guerrero, a third-year student from ACE.
Some others expressed their disapproval of the action.
Physics Professor Emeritus Fred Driscoll repeatedly asked about a sign that said, “OASIS is Anti-Black,” and refused to step back numerous times despite requests from BSU students, faculty, and staff. Driscoll is the former advisor for The UCSD Koala, a controversial student-run publication that claims to be “the worst in collegiate journalism since 1982.”
Driscoll donated $120 to the UCSD Foundation in support of student publication during an Associated Students of UCSD (ASUCSD) media funding freeze in 2010 related to the UCSD Koala. ASUCSD cut all campus media funding in 2015, leading to a lawsuit filed by the San Diego ACLU and The Koala. A federal judge dismissed the claim on Feb. 28, 2017.
UCSD tutor Jacob Puckett demanded the BSU un-barricade and unoccupy the walk, saying “I’m not gonna play this game,” to which the BSU responded by chanting “Black lives is [sic] not a game.” Puckett aggressively pushed several female students twice in an attempt to open the barricade and then called the student protesters “colossal losers” after agreeing to walk around the barricade.
The demonstration moved to the Silent Tree after occupying and barricading for roughly two hours on Library Walk. The BSU is expected to release a statement related to the demonstration on Monday.
Sylvia O is a Staff Writer for The Triton. You can follow her @Sylvia_MJ_O
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on April 18 at 3:00pm to clarify that Professor Driscoll’s donation was to support student publication and link to his correspondence with UT staff.