Fear And Butthurt At UC San Diego

Even though this is America, and even though it's 2015, somewhere a student newspaper is not fulfilling its core journalistic role of protecting students' dignity and well-being.

The scene? The University of California at San Diego, which has become like unto a beach-adjacent sun-drenched hell for feelings.

The issue? It's . . . it's not really clear. It has to do with the UC San Diego Guardian being mean. It's election season, and elections and other occasions for free choice are notorious abbatoirs of self-esteem. Apparently the Guardian printed an opinion piece accusing some students on some slates — including former student senator Colin King — of "cyber-bullying" in connection with the election. Now, Colin King is a champion of free speech. Just ask him! Last year when someone challenged the practice of student election slates endorsing each other, he offered a strident defense:

King compared disallowing slates from endorsing each other to an A.S. Council dictatorship.

“We do not dictate the college councils for what they do,” King said. “I think that it’s really irresponsible on our part if we make an overarching rule and dictate free speech.”

So. Naturally, Colin King supports the Guardian's right to run such opinion pieces. He understands that controversial issues are best resolved through a marketplace of ideas, and that the remedy for disagreement or hurt feelings is vigorous response speech.

No. Wait.

That's Bizarro-America Colin King. This is regular America. Here, Colin King has introduced a resolution for the UCSD Associated Students' April 15 meeting seeking to control or defund the Guardian.

You'll find Colin's resolution here. Though modest on a national scale — it's a proposal by one student, about one student paper — it's emblematic of a trend in modern college students. It's the Magna Carta of Me-Me-Me, the Ninty-Five Reasons You Shouldn't Be Able to Say That.


WHEREAS, the UCSD Guardian has a history of publishing inaccuracies and slander; and

Colin, unless the Guardian has a town crier it publishes libel, not slander. You could have gotten that distinction from Wikipedia, but Wikipedia is probably also unsympathetic to your feelings.

WHEREAS, these inaccuracies and slander have rallied students against the Sun God Festival, have negatively affected students’ well-beings, and have begun to negatively affect the campus climate; and

It's unclear whether "well-beings" means the well-being of multiple students, or whether each student has multiple well-beings, like chakras or something. The Sun God Festival is an annual event at UCSD against which one apparently ought not speak, or write.

WHEREAS, the Principles of Community state, “We affirm each individual's right to dignity and strive to maintain a climate of justice marked by mutual respect for each other;”2 and

WHEREAS, the UCSD Guardian has explicitly denied students on our campus the right to dignity by releasing private and/or inaccurate statements about specific students on this campus, while including their names; and

The right to dignity means the media shouldn't write about you by name. Colin may or may not have borrowed this theory from revenge porn sociopath Craig Brittain.

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of UCSD will not recognize the UCSD Guardian as the official student newspaper until a time that they are officially provided with a full-time staff advisor; and

Do you hear that Guardian? The Associated Students WILL NOT RECOGNIZE YOU. They will ROLL TO DISBELIEVE you. We, college students learning to be adults, demand that our student papers be SUPERVISED BY ADULTS.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of UCSD encourages the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs to stop subsidizing the UCSD Guardian with student fees until they accept the offer to have a full-time staff advisor; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of UCSD understands that this may seem drastic, but we hope that it will be resolved immediately and leave a lasting positive impact on print media on this campus.


Why is a petty gesture of attempted censorship notable? It's notable because it reflects a dangerous trend. Never doubt that the existence of Colin King and his ilk threaten not only the mild annoyance of the UC San Diego campus, but our rights. We rely, as a society, on shared values. Those values include the rule of law and freedom of expression. Never doubt how crucial they are:

What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.

There will always be a few Colin Kings. But a society made up of them is doomed.

Edited to add: A source has provided me with an email Colin King sent to the UCSD ASA listserv:

"First of all, if the Guardian were to receive a full-time staff advisor, the "healthy check on ASUCSD’s ability to collect and allocate student fee
dollars" would not be stifled, unless the Guardian decided to stop reporting on A.S. This resolution in no way silences student voices – the advisor role would just be there to also put a healthy check on the Guardian, making sure the Guardian fact-checks before publishing and they don't frame their stories in an inflammatory manner. If you look at our political system, for example, we have checks and balances. Similarly to how our government's form of checks and balances comes full circle, this form of student life should too (i.e. the Guardian checks A.S., A.S. checks the administration, and administration checks the Guardian)

Colin King thinks that "checks and balances" means the government has a check on the press.

Second Edit: Around an hour and a half after this went up, somebody circulated a revised resolution. This one corrects "slander" to "libel" and adds this paragraph:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of UCSD believe in freedom of speech and believe that an advisor would assist in integral tasks of journalism, thus enhancing the Guardian as a news source, and would not limit students freedom to print what they desire;

No censor ever fails to say "I believe in free speech." In fact, here's a useful rule of thumb: if you are proposing a law or a rule, and you feel moved to defend it by saying "I believe in free speech, but . . . ." you are probably a censor.

Third edit: Apparently this revision was circulated before my post.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Josh C says

    As the Guardian appears to be an organ of the administration, it is not immediately clear to me why they should be excluded from the "checks and balances" approach.

  2. SirWired says

    I'd just like to say that while the internet makes knowing about such things easier, unless you have some sort of analysis of student newspapers over time, you not want to say it's "emblematic of a trend"; this is kind of lazy journalism of the sort that is routinely (and justly) mocked. (NYT "trend" pieces in particular are great sources of humor.)

    Old People ™ have been complaining about the upcoming generation being soft/lazy/disrespectful/lawn-trespassing/etc. sissies since approx. forever.

  3. ZugTheMegasaurus says

    No, no, "well-beings" are a subspecies of imp that inhabit wells and ensure access to potable water. As minions of the Sun God, their abilities rely on His Divine Favor. When this paper turned students against praising the Sun God, many well-beings were tragically injured in holy punishment. This is the cause of the current drought conditions in California and is no laughing matter. We can only hope that Colin King's righteous crusade to reclaim the Sun God's Divine Favor succeeds.

  4. ZK says

    @SirWired, if you read Ken's post on one of those newfangled internet boxes, you might notice that he linked the phrase about a "trend" to an article discussing Greg Lukianoff's "Freedom From Speech", which discusses the trend in some detail. Lukianoff has also written the book "Unlearned Liberty" which examines the trend in long form, in great, exacting, maybe even a little tedious, detail.

    It's not like Ken's just complaining about "young people", here, either. Professors, activists, and administrators are driving this 'trend' as hard as they can. Students are just learning the lessons they're being taught.

  5. CD says

    The Guardian is not an organ of the administration. They are an independent journalism source, and they operate on ad revenue only. The only student fees they receive are the ones A.S. chooses to give them by purchasing ads.
    It seems to me that they are not the ones who need to be doing the fact-checking.

  6. Wyrm says

    Colin King seems to be yet another one of those people who believe in free speech… as long it forbids whatever they don't like. Some people should understand how real life works: either everyone has free speech or no one does; and people don't all agree on everything. Thus free speech implies contradictory speech.
    If you don't like that opinions other than your own exist, you could at least assume it.

  7. says

    @Flounder: Wait…is a roll to disbelieve based on WIS or INT? (Not that it really matters one way or the other; it looks like these students have penalties from both scores.)

  8. sorrykb says

    WHEREAS, these inaccuracies and slander have rallied students against the Sun God Festival

    Perhaps he should have invoked RFRA.

  9. Gilbert says

    Oh this is why I love you Ken. Natural 20's notwithstanding, I find its hard to believe anything in a college "newspaper". I'm not sure I could believe what was printed even if such authors preambled with, "I swear I am not making this up."

  10. Philosopherva says

    Of course, the beautiful thing is, when Colin King goes to apply for a job, this post will show up high on the search results. I always Google job applicants, most hiring managers do. Currently, on Google, this article is right below his LinkedIn profile.

  11. jaxkayaker says

    Better idea than Colin's, based only on my limited college experience: shut down all student governments, stop collecting fees from all students to be disbursed by a few students for a few students.

  12. Peter says

    I enjoy the mockery of undergrads more than anyone should care to admit. Please keep on keepin' on.

  13. Dr. Mark says

    Makes me embarrassed to admit I graduated from UCSD…

    And we mocked the "Sun God" back then….given that it's a ugly bit of "sculpture" that looks like something a child did with Play-doh…scaled up and painted in garish colors. Hold a festival for it? Shows how far the student body taste has fallen.

  14. says

    The problem is not this misguided student — confused college kids will espouse almost anything. The problem is that his ideas would likely be sanctioned by the NY Times editorial board. This kid's views are now mainstream — remember, we live in a world where congress thinks it should decide who is and is not a journalist. What is frightening is that Colin is a conformist. He would collapse in a ball and cry himself to sleep if 10% of his audience responded negatively to his heartfelt ideas. The three or four kids who understand how horrible this trend is are the ones we should be paying attention to — you know, the ones likely actively being aided by the group "FIRE" against tyrannical school administratiors.

  15. Paul Maul says

    We will defund you until you "accept our offer."
    So that's an offer you can't refuse, if you want to keep publishing.
    Yes, Godfather!

  16. TXDave says

    @Josh M.: IIRC, "Roll to disbelieve" is a Will check, which is WIS-based. Certain illusions will allow for a further INT check to see logical flaws. Either way, this guy's boned.

  17. Mission Hills Native says

    Ah yes, we MUST – in the name of "free speech" – censor a student newspaper so that the authors of that paper don't "frame their stories" in an inflammatory manner.

    I agree.

    So , for example, we should BAN any newspaper that describes opponents of gay marriage as homophobes or Nazis. That's QUITE inflammatory.

    We should BAN any newspaper that describes opponents of Affirmative Discrimination as racists. Because that's not inflammatory at all.

    We should BAN any media source that describes opponents of illegal immigration as terrorists. Because that's so unhelpful to civilized dialogue.

    Right? RIGHT?! It's only logical.

    These leftist-fascists are so predictable and so mind-numbingly stupid.

  18. styrgwillidar says

    Yeah the truth follows the but

    I support the second amendment, but…
    I support free speech, but…
    I'm not a racist, but…
    I don't want to tell people how to live their lives, but…

  19. mitydk says

    ROLL TO DISBELIEVE is about the most awesome thing I've seen on the Interwebs in a loooong time. That is just so absolutely perfect for these types of people.

    In this case however, regardless of his low WIS and INT, he gets a massive bonus from his class–ZEALOT–IIRC somewhere on the order of a +8 on 1d20. So he's probably got that in the bag, although people like him always seem to roll 1s at critical moments in their lives. Perpetual losers in the game of life.

  20. Richard says

    I see this as the reasonable result of the idea that children cannot do anything (even walk to or from the park) without direct adult supervision. I'm waiting for college housing to be built with rooms for parents connecting to each student unit-because anything can happen when your child is unsupervised. Even though your own child will behave himself (of course), you must be available at all times to step in to protect him from all the mean and dangerous people in the world.

  21. tyrannosaurusvex says

    We'll see if the resolution passes. Hopefully a trend of cooler heads prevailing will assert itself.

  22. Jacob H says

    Not many people know this, but every dorm on that campus has a well in the living area, for emergencies and whatnot. Well (lol), based on the number of homicidal VHS tapes circulating there, it's been concluded that there are probably a large number of well-beings on campus. Not so many, however, that they don't need to be protected.

  23. SirThoreth says

    Dr. Mark, when did you graduate? They've been doing the Sun God festival since at least 1991, when I started there.

  24. Fritz says

    The Sun God Festival is an annual event at UCSD against which one apparently ought not speak, or write.

    Nay! One does not even think of the Sun God Festival. All Hail the Sun God!

    I just had a Alan Moore does Lovecraft frisson of joy.

  25. Matt says


    Oh this is why I love you Ken. Natural 20's notwithstanding, I find its hard to believe anything in a college "newspaper".

    I remember the good ol' days of the college paper at my engineering school. Granted, it was written by engineers, but the whole thing was so bad, one year I really couldn't decide if the typo in the ad looking for proofreaders for the paper was a test, or just ironic.

    Dr. Mark

    it's a ugly bit of "sculpture" that looks like something a child did with Play-doh…scaled up and painted in garish colors.

    May be giving a bit away, but my university while I was there wound up with a new set of sculptures that featured highly stylized man and woman sculptures. I found them hideous, many of my fellow students called them "the bathroom signs" (which they resembled). The frats occasionally hung togas on them for Greek Week, and I think at least one year the band put clown outfits on them – which we figured was the best yet.

  26. CD says

    Ken White, can you please add an update if Colin comes after you too? I would love to know if he tries to sue all media outlets that say mean things about him or just the ones that look like easy targets

  27. TXDave says

    @ Matt: My university while I was in attendance spent a couple million on a "sculpture" that was assembled from scrapyard rejects. Its official name was "The Sentinel" – within a year it looked horrendously rusty and was dubbed "The Sh**inel" by most of the student body.

  28. albert says

    "…It's unclear whether "well-beings" means the well-being of multiple students, or whether each student has multiple well-beings, like chakras or something. …."
    Made my day! I hope Colin King isn't an Journalism major. Wait… it's Political Science, right?
    May God save our Sorry Asses.

  29. richard40 says

    Any bets on whether this Colin King is a leftist or not. Leftist totalitarians like this will grow up to be the future leaders of the dem party, ensuring the future dem party is every bit as dictatorial as todays dem party is.

  30. David Schwartz says

    If you find yourself defending your argument by saying that you "believe in free speech and …", and the sentence would read better if you changed the "and" to a "but", you're definitely a censorious douchebag.

  31. David C says

    If you find yourself defending your argument by saying that you "believe in free speech and …", and the sentence would read better if you changed the "and" to a "but", you're definitely a censorious douchebag.

    Nah. "I believe in free speech, but you don't." "I believe in free speech, but murder isn't speech." "I believe in free speech, but not free beer." "I believe in free speech, but your argument makes no sense." "I believe in free speech, but that's not the law in Iran, so it could get you arrested there." "I believe in free speech, but a Republican presidential candidate should probably not refer to himself as a Communist if he wants to get elected."

    But it IS a good indication that you should double-check.

  32. Guy who looks things up says


    I see you have not read rant 1 of Ken's first 10 short rants article.

    Or perhaps you don't agree or perhaps you don't understand it.

  33. richard40 says

    To Guy:
    I haven't, and you did not bother to provide any link. Perhaps you could summarize, and actually make a clear point.
    To Trent.
    I suspect it is you who is showing your own partisanship and psychosis. What specifically about my comment was wrong. Or do you just throw around lame insults, with no backup.

  34. Kratoklastes says

    Aaaah… student politics. Is there anything else in the entire world that is simultaneously so laughable and so vile?

    As someone who is hella old, I can testify that this type of shit has been on campuses (campi? TNIRN) since at least the last bit of the last millennium.

    Back in 1993, the Student Union at my alma mater decided that there should be such a thing as a Women's Officer: there were purple-haired Arts majors who did not have a funded sinecure, and that was prima facie evidence of the fact – FACT – that penises (peni? TNIRN) are evil.

    So the 'representative' body' (those who were unaware of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem) decided they would have one of them there 'vote' things to elect a Women's Officer.

    A few of us Economics undergraduates decide to stir the pot, so we took a diplomatic mission over the the Engineering café[1] outlining a plan to troll the 'vote' by nominating a male for the post.

    We got plenty of Enjies who were fully up for such hi-kinks and japes, and the male candidate would have won the ballot easily (because traditionally, student 'rep' places were obtained with 30-40 votes – even the student rep seat on the University Council – and we had upwards of 200 pranksters).

    The purple-haired aspirant to the post because aware that her union-dues-funded sinecure was in danger, so she lobbied – SUCCESSFULLY – to prohibit male candidates from the contest.

    She eventually 'won' – unopposed – with 12 votes.

    [1] Enjies had their own caf: that's because they were the Orcs of the student body, and proud of it. Nowadays they are just as emasculated as every other discipline.

  35. sdfdsfgfddfh says

    That Greg Lukianoff post is surprisingly foolish. "If I have to keep my mouth shut because someone else will lobby to get me fired from my job, and succeeds in doing so, my free speech is gone. And I'm not talking about the 1st amendment; I'm talking about free speech in general." That's not what free speech in general is about though. You can't have your cake and eat it in life. If you want to be lazy and not self censor your mediocre, prejudiced beliefs, you can't complain about people treating you less than princely.

    Of course this post is about student government so it is about free speech "in general", which is an important thing that should never be stifled by mobs… still the entitled belief that people can say whatever they want without cultural criticism is unbelievably stupid.