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UCLA Activists Lose Freedom Of Speech

by Center on Animal Liberation Affairs Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 3:55 PM

University or Censorship?

Attention All- Please post this on your website, send out to your academic peers, and forward it to your organization's members,

During World Week for Animals in Labs 2003, activists in Southern California targeted researchers at UCLA who are experimenting on primates. Events included a large rally at UCLA where activists distributed over a thousand flyers alerting the public that tax dollars are funding useless and cruel experiments--including one injecting monkeys with methamphetamine to study drug addiction. Activists also protested outside the homes of researchers, where allegedly homes were vandalized.

The UCLA Daily Bruin has printed eight articles about the events in the last few weeks; however, they have failed to print anything challenging the legitimacy of animal research. All articles claim that people who oppose animal research are overly sentimental and fail to address the scientific and economic arguments against animal experimentation. Furthermore, the paper has printed an editorial of two animal researchers but refused to print a response from protesters.

A UCLA activist sent the following letter to 85 Daily Bruin staff members to publicize the discrimination they is receiving. The Editor in Chief wrote the activist back literally blacklisting them from the paper because they had embarrassed him.

Please write the UCLA Daily Bruin demanding bias-free editorial decisions in line with the paper's mission statement. The paper has an obligation to allow discussion on controversial issues. (see Daily Bruin contact information below).


Center on Animal Liberation Affairs


Dear Daily Bruin staff,

This letter is to formally complain of the discrimination I have experienced from staff at the Daily Bruin because of my political beliefs. My interaction with Cuauhtemoc Ortega and Sarah Jansen has proven that the Bruin is unwilling to allow certain dialogue in its paper.

Since May of 2001, I have been submitting articles to the Bruin discussing my objections to animal research. The Bruin has consistently refused to run my articles and has never run any other viewpoint challenging the legitimacy of animal research in the time that I have attended UCLA.

On April 17, 2003, I submitted a viewpoint about the economic and scientific problems with animal research currently being conducted at UCLA. I meticulously cited every fact so that the Bruin could check my references and see that my arguments are valid. All my sources are either from the UCLA website or the National Institute of Health, which funds the majority of experiments at UCLA. I am not aware of any requirement that writers provide scrupulous footnotes, but I did not want my article dismissed for any reason.

On April 20, 2003, I received an email from Viewpoint editor Sarah Jansen asking for my references. I was confused because I carefully cited all my facts and so asked Ms. Jansen for clarification on what needed further references. She did not respond.

On April 28, 2003, the Bruin printed a scathing editorial saying that animal rights activists at a protest the previous week appealed to sentimentality while making “inflammatory assertions.” Though that editorial did not refer to a single experiment being conducted at UCLA, it made a blanket statement that animal research is responsible for medical advancement. The animal research community itself could have written the article.

I addressed many of the issues the Bruin brought up in my viewpoint submission. I was upset that, once again, the Bruin was not allowing the other perspective to be printed, so I re-submitted my viewpoint to Ms. Jansen and asked why she never responded to my request for clarification.

Ms. Jansen responded: “There are factual problems with your references. Cuauhtemoc Ortega, the Daily Bruin Editor-in-chief, has seen both your submission and your supporting documents. Apparently, there are factual discrepancies.”

At her suggestion, I emailed Mr. Ortega on April 29, 2003, to ask him what factual discrepancies he had found. He did not respond, so I called him today, May 1, 2003. To my surprise, he said that he was not aware that my article had any citations. Ms. Jansen said he had looked at my supporting documents; Mr. Ortega said he did not know any existed.

I called Ms. Jansen back immediately after my conversation with Mr. Ortega to discuss what the real problem with my article was. Clearly, Mr. Ortega did not read it.

Ms. Jansen explained that she had selected my piece for printing shortly after I submitted it; however, at a meeting to discuss placement, Mr. Ortega said he had read it several years ago and that my facts were incorrect.

I am disturbed that Mr. Ortega claimed he read my article "years ago." Is that a suggestion that I plagiarized someone else's article? Or is it to suggest that every article opposing animal research is identical? Over the years, my submissions have discussed different UCLA researchers, different doctors who question the effectiveness of animal research, and used different arguments why animal research should be challenged. My writing has also changed since I was a freshman. To say that my submissions are identical is absurd.

Because Ms. Jansen selected my submission for printing, it clearly was of sufficient quality. Because arguments challenging animal research have not been printed, my topic was clearly of sufficient originality. Because my topic was UCLA-specific, it was clearly of sufficient interest to Bruin readers. However, Mr. Ortega’s prejudice against my political views and his position of authority at the Bruin made it possible for my submission to be tossed aside.

Today, Ms. Jansen encouraged me to re-submit my viewpoint for the third time. Though I will, it is likely that Mr. Ortega will prevent my article from being printed no matter how many times I submit it.

This is a clear case of discrimination and censorship. While the Daily Bruin prints several articles defending animal research, it is unwilling to address whether the current experiments at UCLA are helping any humans. My goal is to create open dialogue about this controversy, and to my disappointment, the Bruin has taken a firm stance to quash debate because the Editor-in-chief disagrees with my views.

The Daily Bruin’s mission is “to improve the quality of life of our community as a whole and educate the next generation of professional journalists. We strive to accomplish this goal on a daily basis by reporting the truth in an informed, responsible and ethical way to inform and enlighten members of our community, and provoke thoughtful responses, dialogue and action.” There is no doubt that you have failed.


Please send letters demanding the Daily Bruin allow the voice of opposition to be heard, not censored!

Daily Bruin

118 Kerckhoff Hall

308 Westwood Plaza

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Arvli Ward, Media Director:

Cuauhtemoc Ortega, Editor in Chief:

Sarah Jansen, Viewpoint Editor:

***Please Cc: your comments to:

Chancellor Albert Carnesale


Box 951405, 2147 Murphy

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405

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