FOX News’ Todd Starnes opined on a recent controversy that occurred at my alma mater, the University of California, Santa Cruz, which to me showed that nothing had changed since my attendance there in the early 1990s. The University of California, Santa Cruz, has long been known as a hotbed of progressive liberalism and for embracing the counterculture. The campus had a long-ago implemented speech code policy to ensure that no groups were discriminated against or caste aside (with the exception, of course, of white males, but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax). The continual theme of political correctness – and using “appropriate” terminology as to not offend a litany of groups–lives on.
This month, Stevenson College on the UCSC campus hosted an “Intergalactic Night” featuring a Mexican buffet decorated with cutouts of spaceships and aliens–and that is apparently all it takes to make everyone go insane. Cartoon pictures of little green men and MEXICAN FOOD apparently don’t mix at Stevenson College so complaints followed saying the combination of aliens and Mexican food was “racist because of the association between Mexicans and illegal immigrants.”
Before the Stevenson College incident, there was the infamous “Asian Food affair”, which occurred several years before my time there. To give a little bit of background and context to the event, every college at UCSC has their own dining hall, which usually had a monthly special event known as College Night, centered around a certain theme. In December 1988, it was decided by officials at Crown College that the 7th would be a College Night dedicated to the theme of the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in which Asian food would be served, but was quickly changed as a Crown staff member noted it might be misconstrued as inappropriate.
Instead, a non-ethnic menu of fried chicken, ribs and quiche were served. This move then led to an unsubstantiated rumor at neighboring Merrill College, known as the “multicultural” campus, that this was because Asians were being blamed for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Never mind that the Crown staff member who raised her concern with the original menu was of Japanese-American heritage herself). Facts notwithstanding, fliers were circulated around campus decrying the racism of Crown College officials. An official statement was made by Merrill College leaders lambasting the alleged racism of Crown college staff members. This led to the resignations of several staff members and then-head of Crown College, Peggy Musgrave, taking medical leave and eventually leaving the campus. The incident even led to national news attention, with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by longtime UCSC professor Jerome Neu and Barbara Rhoades Ellis, a UC Santa Cruz faculty wife, in Heterodoxy Magazine.
A request was made to the Public Affairs Office at the University for comment, and Scott Hernandez-Jason made the following statement:
A couple nights ago, Stevenson College held its college night, monthly dinner events that bring the Stevenson community together in an informal collegial atmosphere to enjoy lively entertainment and an extraordinary dinner in the company of friends. The entertainment can run the gamut from jazz, rock, salsa, and folk musicians to hypnotists, comedians, dance groups and a variety of multicultural celebrations.
The recent theme was intergalactic. In most cases, student organizers pick dinners that align with the theme. For example, Midnight in Paris featured French food and Beyond the Bay offered up seafood.
For this event, students couldn’t think of something that was space-related. Since they hadn’t yet had Mexican food for one of these events, they chose to serve that as the meal.
The college administrative officer sent a note to students in the college recognizing that some could have perceived the pairing in the wrong light and explaining that it was an unintentional mistake. She offered to meet with any students who wanted to talk more about the incident.
I’m sure as an alum, you know what an inclusive, welcoming place we want UC Santa Cruz to be.