Diversity Is Strength! It`s Also…A Blind Eye To Mayhem At An "Asian-Interest" Fraternity
October 16, 2009, 05:00 AM
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Looking back at my twenty plus years as an educator at the Lodi Unified School District, I'm still disbelieving that California school administrators don't see the glaring inconsistency in their diversity-crazed approach to campus life.

On the one hand, starting in pre-school, every teacher, student, administrator, custodian and cafeteria cook is encouraged to embrace diversity.

Teacher evaluations include being rated on how inclusive their bulletin boards are. They mustn't forget to post a tribute to everyone, preferably at whatever season that nationality celebrates it heritage—Cinco de Mayo, Chinese and Vietnamese New Years, Eid or Kwanzaa.

Then, when the students start high school, the formal push to celebrate diversity continues. But, paradoxically, administrators encourage membership in separatist clubs formed to promote individual cultures including Mexican, African-American and various Asian ethnicities. [Vdare.com note: Whites need not apply: it made nationwide headlines in 2003 when one student wanted to start a Caucasian Club—a fifteen year old  girl who had to leave school because of the resulting harassment.]

Logically, if California schools were truly concerned about diversity, there would be no such thing as MeCHA or special Latino graduations that narrowly focus on specific demographic groups.

Administrators would disband the organizations, cancel the events and insist that students participate more broadly in the school's wider ranging, all encompassing programs.

Really, how can schools justify promoting diversity at every turn yet at the same time tolerate ethnic separatism?

But sadly, they don't have any problem doing it.

As high school teenagers mature into young college adults, many of them have been taught from their mentors and peers that their nationality is inherently superior to others.

Years of ethnic indoctrination during their formative period when minds are pliable often leads to trouble, sometimes involving capital crimes.

Last month, two UCLA students from Orange County were arrested on suspicion of trying to stab two fellow students to death at an off-campus fraternity party hosted by Lambda Phi Epsilon.

Taken into custody on suspicion of attempted murder were UCLA undergraduates Isaiah Hee Cho, 19, of Westminster and Chris Yi, 19, of Huntington Beach.

Another UCLA student Justin Kim, 19, of La Crescenta was also arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to attempted murder.

According to UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton, campus police arrested four other men: Federico Fernandez, 22, Phi Quoc Le, 20, both from Huntington Beach, Don Thammavongsa, 19, of Westminster and Dan Su Pham, 19, of Covina.

They have been arraigned on charges of attempted murder and aggravated mayhem. All four were held at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles in lieu of $2 million bail each. [OC Men Arrested on Suspicion of Stabbings At UCLA Frat Party, by Kimberly Edds, Orange County Register, October 1, 2009]

Here's the conclusion I came to when I read this unhappy story:

Since the attempted murder involves Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians and Mexicans the suspects, despite years of encouragement from their primary and high school teachers, do not embrace diversity.

Because of their given first names and ages, Cho, Yi and Kim are almost certainly American-born. And as students at the super-competitive UCLA, they must have graduated at the top of their high school classes and scored high on their SATs.

While this would give ample reason to hope that the men would make better choices, their backgrounds also include heavy doses of anti-assimilation propaganda that they learned not only in school but also in their ethnic enclaves.

The cities the suspects live in are heavily populated by Asians: Westminster, 43 percent; Covina, 24 percent and La Crescenta, 18 percent.

Most significant, however, is where the attempted murder occurred.

Founded at UCLA in 1981, Lambda Phi Epsilon describes itself as the "first and only Asian-interest" fraternity. But that "Asian-interest" seems to include several incidents of criminal behavior.

To begin with, before the latest series of arrests, the UCLA Lambda Phi Epsilon chapter had previously been suspended for fighting.

And nationally, the fraternity has a long history of trouble with the law:

  • In 2001 at UC Riverside, a raid on the fraternity house discovered large quantities of illegal drugs including ecstasy, ketamine, valium, somacin and LSD.

  • In 2003 at San Jose State, Alam Kim was killed when he was stabbed in the heart by Long Duy Tram.

  • In 2005, the UC Irvine chapter was officially suspended as a result of an open investigation surrounding the death of a Cal Poly Pomona pledge.

(Pledges attempting to establish a Lambda Phi Epsilon chapter at Cal Poly were participating in a football game against active UCI members when Kenny Luong incurred injuries that ultimately proved fatal. A witness described Luong as "significantly smaller and less physically fit than the bigger, more numerous UCI Lambdas. Players wore no helmets or pads, and were allowed access to water only at halftime.") 

  • In December 2005 at the University of Texas, Phanta Phoummarath, a new Lambda Phi Epsilon member, died because of alcohol poisoning.

One year after Phoummarath's death a Travis County Grand Jury charged former President Benny Chan and former Pledge Captain Andrew Nguyen each with seven counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, as well as 22 and 14 counts of hazing respectively.

Kamal Pulukari, another perpetrator, was charged with 14 counts of hazing and the fraternity with five counts of the same crime.

  • On September 23, 2008, Northwestern University announced that Lambda Phi Epsilon's chapter would be suspended for five years for breaking four university rules: "hazing, a rule prohibiting violence or threatening the safety of any person, restrictions on recruitment and failure to cooperate with the investigation and student conduct hearings."

  • In May 2009, seven Lambda Phi Epsilon members were charged with hazing and felony second-degree assault when three victims were found unconscious in a nearby home and were treated for dehydration, alcohol poisoning, blood in urine as well as severe pain, swelling and bruising to buttocks.

Maybe, in the interests of public safety, all the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity houses should be closed!

Like every other university, of course, UCLA prides itself on its diversity.

In fact, it has a special website dedicated to diversity, on which Chancellor Gene D. Block proclaims it is "...a core value at UCLA" that provides for "...the kind of broad, enriching educational experience for which the university has long been known."

As you would guess, the website has several touching stories about diverse students' achievements.

But, as you also could predict, the site doesn't mention Cho, Yi or Kim even though their arrests were major stories in the Southern California press and broadcast widely on local television and radio stations.

Even though diversity's proponents are loathe to do it, eventually they must come face to face with its drawbacks.

The question that I'd pose to Chancellor Block: is capital crime is a UCLA "core value"?

Anticipating Block's "no" answer, then I would recommend that in light of the recent campus arrests on murder charges of several of his diverse charges, that the university rethink its ultra-liberal multicultural policy.

A university's purpose is not to perpetuate myths about huge social challenges like diversity—but rather to tell the whole truth, the good with the bad, and let students figure it out for themselves.

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.