The signatories of this petition condemn the hostile content and aggressive distribution of The Koala at CSUSM. The Koala is neither a sanctioned student organization nor a student media outlet. According to San Diego County records, The Koala is a privately held, for-profit business, solely owned by George Lee Liddle III, a former UCSD student. The Koala’s hateful, obscene and prejudicial...
The signatories of this petition condemn the hostile content and aggressive distribution of The Koala at CSUSM. The Koala is neither a sanctioned student organization nor a student media outlet. According to San Diego County records, The Koala is a privately held, for-profit business, solely owned by George Lee Liddle III, a former UCSD student. The Koala’s hateful, obscene and prejudicial content, coupled with the lack of action by the University to directly counter the effects of The Koala, has created a hostile environment in the CSUSM community that is intimidating and fear inducing. This environment threatens the delivery of and access to education at CSUSM. In the classrooms, students and faculty feel unsafe addressing the tabloid’s hateful content for fear of retribution from The Koala. Students report being afraid to participate in classroom discussions, feeling unsafe on campus, feeling fearful of spending time in popular campus spaces where The Koala is distributed, and fearful of walking alone through the campus hallways, along its paths and to campus parking lots.
The Koalans use aggressive and offensive distribution tactics, thrusting the tabloid into students’ faces, hawking “Black and white pictures of naked girls! Want to see naked girls?” and they become belligerent when students refuse or discard the tabloid. The tabloid’s hostile, obscene and violent content specifically targets women and other minorities, as defined in the California Code of Regulations. Students and faculty who have spoken out against the damaging content in The Koala have been threatened and harassed, and individual students, faculty and staff have been targeted by hateful and obscene content and threats of violence. One student advocate’s online identity was stolen, her grades were changed, her personal Internet accounts were hacked, and she has been persistently harassed with obscene and intimidating emails. In the September issue, one student’s photo was superimposed onto a pornographic scene, causing her severe distress. The onslaught of harassment, hostility and abuse spread by The Koala has persisted unchallenged by the University since January 2011.
We ask you, President Haynes, Dr. Carter and CSU Trustees, to take immediate action to counter the hostile educational and working environment that The Koala has created, unhindered, within our campus community. Specifically, we request the following actions:
1. That President Haynes and the CSU Trustees speak out against The Koala, naming the tabloid’s content as hateful and prejudicial, as promoting violence against women and girls and other minorities, and as creating a hostile campus environment that affects all students, staff and faculty. The purpose of such statements is to assure the campus community, our donors, students’ families, and our extended community that the University is not a passive accomplice to The Koala’s intimidation, hostility and harassment.
2. That, in order to limit student, faculty and staff’s unwanted exposure to The Koala’s content, The Koala will be distributed on campus solely via vendor boxes, a method commonly used by print publications, including The Pride, our campus newspaper. The vendor boxes will be supplied by The Koala and installed in University-approved locations at The Koala’s expense.
3. That CSUSM will create a safe means for students, staff and faculty to share and document how The Koala has negatively impacted their education and work experience. Should another such publication or organization attempt to spread hate and intimidation on campus, the documentation will serve as testament to the hostile educational and working environment created by such publications.
4. That CSUSM will communicate to The Koala the requirement that, in order to be distributed at CSUSM, each Koala issue must accurately identify the tabloid’s owner, publisher, writers, graphic artists, business address and contact information, as The Pride does and as any legitimate publication does.
For those of you who have not read The Koala, it is important to note that an analysis of The Koala revealed that CSUSM’s female student population was directly targeted in 57% of The Koala’s content. The LGBTQIA community was targeted by 14% of the content; ethnic and non-white racial groups were targeted by 12% of the content; and people with illness or disabilities were targeted by 3% of the content. The Koala promotes bias and/or hate toward faith groups and victims of rape and pedophilia. And, the tabloid’s content glorifies and encourages such illegal acts as rape and sexual assault, battering, pedophilia and child abuse, illegal drug use, underage drinking, and assault of CSUSM students and employees, including campus police. For example, the September Koala makes the claim that “Women secretly enjoy being raped,” and the director of Student Life and Leadership was told to “go to the top of [the] parking structure and jump.”
We honor the First Amendment rights and the protections it provides, and we are not suggesting The Koala’s First Amendment rights be hindered in any way. Rather, we believe the University has failed in its responsibility to protect students, faculty and staff from the hostile educational and working environment that The Koala has created. This environment is limiting students, faculty and staff’s ability to participate in and benefit from the educational programs and activities at CSUSM.
We ask you to take immediate action as described above, and we look forward to your timely response to our request.