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May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

California Review
by Goon Pattanumotana, Warren '97

If you have any stories about your years at UCSD, we would love to hear them.
Email the editor

Many students look back at their college years and remember taking classes, hours of study, drinking at parties or sleeping late. For others, including myself, the college experience was one of student activism that helped shape views, beliefs and personality.

My off-beat path took me to an independent campus newspaper called the California Review—an alternative publication presenting conservative and libertarian viewpoints through investigative articles, interviews and commentary. At first, I wasn't really active with the 3,000-issue publication, but found it enjoyable to discuss certain philosophies with active writers including Michael Malervy III, Warren '94, Ben Boychuk III, Revelle '94, and Matthew Robinson, Warren '93. But then in 1993, Malervy invited me to join the team of editors and writers.

Truthfully, writing was my weakest skill and I had endured numerous quarters doing ESL and Warren writing classes. As an economics major, I purposely scheduled classes without any term papers, so writing and editing for the California Review was probably my most challenging experience in college.

My Review experience initially was quiet late nights writing and editing articles, interspersed with special meetings at a Denny's restaurant. The staff members at the time included Len Nguyen, Muir '97, Lon Nguyen, Muir '97, Lani Drew, Muir '96, Robert Miranda, Marshall '97, and a few others. By 1995, I had become more involved with the publication and was trying to keep it alive with the few writers and resources we had. During that time, however, we still managed to land several prominent interviews with, among others, former ambassador Joe Ghougassian and former assemblyman Howard Kooligian. Eventually, I handed the editing reins to my successor Kerry Liu, ERC '98, but I continued to contribute articles for publication.

In 1997, the Review faced its biggest challenge when the Associated Students decided to defund the publication. Many members of A.S. government were displeased with articles criticizing them and their policies. In a piece called "Targeting the A.S.", the Review scrutinized the backgrounds of the A.S. students, and examined their motivations and policies, as well as their involvement with the Greek system, political parties and left-wing organizations.

Then, coincidentally, a simple one-page California Review staff recruitment advertisement in one issue placed us in the middle of a campus controversy. The advertisement was a piece of art about the Spanish Inquisition featuring hooded Inquisitors, something that had been published in the Review for many years. However, many A.S. members said it was a recruitment ad for the Ku Klux Klan on campus.

Throughout many condemnations and resolutions by the A.S., the Review gained support from Guardian columnists, UCSD administrators, professors and off-campus organizations. A special A.S. hearing on racism summoned the entire staff, and most of us attended.

The meeting room was packed with supporters from both sides of the issue. One thing A.S.- elected representatives had failed to notice before was that the Review was staffed mostly by minorities. After the realization and consultation, the A.S. government decided to drop the issue and apologized for their misunderstanding of the advertisement and the staff. The issue quietly died away and the Review secured its funding for the following year.

The California Review has been an alternative publication on campus for the past 28 years, and still is today. It continues to keep minority conservative and libertarian viewpoints alive on campus through its articles. As the California Review's Latin motto reads, "Imperiuam Libertas." Power of liberty.

Goon Pattanumotana, Warren '97, is now a college instructor in economics in Fresno and a real estate investor. He continues to write for websites including IESB.net, Collider.com and LatinoReview.com.