UCSD's controversial TikToker admission shows management's disregard for Indian women

UCSD’s controversial TikToker admission shows management’s disregard for Indian women

So far, it’s hard for me to describe the way my stomach went down when I first heard Avanich Kanala is coming to UCSD. At first glance, Kanala may seem like an average UCSD transfer student, but a quick search of his name will bring you down tik tok The account where he posts racist and misogynistic “hot scenes” to over 350,000 followers. I’ve had the misfortune to watch his videos on my For You Page for the past couple of years, but thinking of him coming here really hurts.

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Kanala’s videos reduce women to things, downplay everything about them from their bodies to their education to their culture, with targeted attacks on his classmates. This kind of hateful content has always been aimed at people like me: Indian women who aspire to independence and intelligence. Over the past few years, Kanala’s TikTok content has been a painful but bearable rabbit hole that I would suck at sometimes. But now I see the demons off my screen incarnate as Kanala steps onto the UCSD campus. My school took a person who could be described as a dwarf, and presented him in the flesh; Am I wrong to see this as stinging betrayal?

I know that in the real world, there are battles I will lose. There will be people spreading hate in my face and trying to push me down. but here? On my land? This is a knife in my back, a sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s a loss of confidence, a broken promise.

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The University of California, San Francisco, always believed it when they claimed it was true “An inclusive society in which everyone has the opportunity to thrive” But the acceptance of the Kanala made me question the purity of their ideals. Until now, I had considered this school a safe place, a place where my classmates and I would be protected and uplifted. One of the first things I come up with when people ask about my favorite parts of UC is the inclusive community here. Tell them how I turned down the other schools because I didn’t want to be surrounded by toxic influence stalkers taking down other people in some kind of devious game. Tell them that UCSF has promised me a place where I will be respected – where I will be appreciated.

One case cannot make or break the culture of an entire university, but the University of California, bringing a student like this onto campus would make their position on inclusion more clear than a thousand notes can; After all, what’s so good about a school that you continue to make sure that everyone “Feeling integrated into life on campus” Then turn around and welcome someone who is actively involved in spreading hateful and biased messages? Will the school take action only after these types of posts lead to physical violence against women? And what about the other UCSD subgenres, who would take Kanala’s admission to UCSF as a green light for their own types of misogyny and sexual violence? A situation could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Kanala also complained that “the brown TikTok teamed up to get [him] expelled from Purdue.” In this case, he is referring to the South Asian community on tiktok, many of whom claim he has been facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

Whether Kanala is expelled from Purdue or left of his own volition, he blames it on a mass popular uprising. While the details of his situation are not publicly available, it is not unreasonable to think that all of these people have a strong reason to keep him out of school. If he was really “kicked” out of Purdue as he claims, why did the University of California, San Francisco, welcome him? Did he repent of his actions?

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The administration welcomed this man to our campus, and gave him a lodging and a seat in our classes. But how are we as students supposed to welcome him into the Triton community? How do we make space for him without expelling the Indian women he has been undermining? I don’t think we can. I think a line has been drawn in the sand and we have to choose sides.

I can rest easy knowing that many will clearly pick the right side, and it is comforting to see the students jump to denounce Kanala’s actions. Although it is a pleasure to see everyone come together like this, we all know that the management’s acceptance of Kanala prevails. The fact of the matter is that UCSD’s acceptance of Kanala is a powerful form of validating his hateful rhetoric. While that may not be their intent, UCSF is sending the message that this student is a respected citizen who lives by Triton’s values. This, in turn, creates an uncomfortable, and possibly unsafe, environment for Indian women at the University of California, San Francisco.

To be perfectly clear, I don’t know Avanich personally, nor do I advocate taking any specific action against him. All I have to say is that I am very disappointed in my school. Something has gone wrong in the Triton community, and I’m afraid it may not be fixed.

Photo courtesy of Bekky Bekks at Unsplash

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