California University Halts TV Funding After Show Mocks Blacks

The University of California, San Diego has halted funding for student media after a TV segment ridiculed black students outraged by a party mocking Black History Month.

The head of the campus Associated Students froze funding for 33 media outlets last week after one, The Koala, ran a student TV episode calling black students ungrateful and using a derogatory term for blacks.

Associated Students President Utsav Gupta called the program "deeply offensive and hurtful" and revoked The Koala's television charter.

"We will only open it again when we can be sure that such hateful content can never be aired again on our student funded TV station," Gupta wrote in a letter posted on a new university Web site to address recent racially charged incidents on campus.

Gupta pleaded for patience with other student media outlets until a committee can craft a new policy on student-funded media.

The Koala, which has a reputation for airing offensive material, made fun of reaction to an off-campus fraternity party Feb. 15, the "Compton Cookout," which urged partygoers to dress as ghetto stereotypes to commemorate Black History Month.

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.

A group of state legislators had demanded an investigation into who was behind the party, including possible student suspensions and revocation of fraternity permits.

School administrators said on the new Web site that they are "exhaustively investigating" the string of incidents and that potential sanctions range from letters of censure to expulsion.

The Koala also stirred up controversy in 2005 when it aired video of a student performing sex acts with an unidentified woman. Kris Gregorian, the editor-in-chief, declined to discuss the latest incident.