*School funding has dried up for several student media outlets at the University of California, San Diego after a TV segment made fun of black students who were outraged by a party ridiculing Black History Month.
The Koala, which has a reputation for airing offensive material, made fun of reaction to an off-campus fraternity party Feb. 15 that urged partygoers to dress as ghetto stereotypes to commemorate Black History Month.
The head of the school’s student government froze funding for print media outlets last week after one, The Koala, ran a student TV episode calling black students ungrateful and using a racial epithet, reports the Associated Press. He also pulled the student-run television station off the air.
Associated Students President Utsav Gupta called the program “deeply offensive and hurtful” and said the segment aired without approval from the two station managers. That’s a violation of the student-run television charter, prompting him to pull the station off the air.
Gupta suspended funding for about 15 of the school’s 33 student-funded media outlets to avoid the impression that he was judging content. He said Koala or any other outlet may continue to publish, just without student funding.
“Some students are drawing the incorrect conclusion that this is muzzling free speech,” he said in an interview. “The right to free speech does not equate to a right to funding.”
In a letter posted on a new university Web site to address recent racially charged incidents on campus, Gupta said the organization “will only open (the TV station) again when we can be sure that such hateful content can never be aired again on our student funded TV station.”
Tensions were running high before the TV program aired Thursday. Only about 2 percent of the school’s 29,000 students are black, a historically low number that the Black Student Union highlighted last week when it presented a series of demands to administrators that aim to improve the racial climate.
School administrators said on the Web site that they are “exhaustively investigating” the string of incidents and that potential sanctions range from letters of censure to expulsion.