A label attached to a YouTube video about UC Merced students' recent push for a Chicano Studies minor warned students that watching it might cause uncontrollable laughter.
But some UC Merced students aren't laughing.
The video was posted Monday to the Animated Videos About UC Merced Facebook page, and also to the UC Merced Facebook page.
It was later deleted from the UC Merced Facebook page.
The Animated Videos About UC Merced Facebook page, operated by UC Merced sophomore Oliver Darcy, features a few other animated videos, mostly with conservative slants, that poke fun at events on campus, such as Jimmy Carter's upcoming visit.
Darcy is a member of the UC Merced College Republicans.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Chicano Studies YouTube video had 59 views.
A UC Merced representative said the school encourages open discussion and strives to maintain an environment where free exchange of ideas and opinions can flourish.
"Intelligent, respectful and spirited debate is among the pillars of our nation's great democracy," the university representative said. "The University also strives to encourage responsible dialogue in which the learning made possible by these exchanges can occur."
The video is a satirical depiction of an animated Latino female student talking to a white male student about why a Chicano Studies minor should exist at UC Merced.
At one point in the video, the man asks the woman why she doesn't want to identify as a U.S. citizen.
"Maybe you could go back to Mexico if you don't like it here?" he said.
"No, you have to conform to all of my demands," said the female character. "If I don't get everything I ask for, I stage useless protests to show how Chicano I am."
The female character is making a reference to recent teach-ins held by students and faculty trying to create a Chicano Studies minor at the school.
Sean Lambert-Diaz, a UC Merced junior and organizer of the push to make Chicano Studies a minor, said he understood the video was trying to be funny, but he felt it was offensive.
"It's a tough issue because we're trying to do our teach-ins" he said. "I feel like our efforts are being insulted."
Simon Weffer, a UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts assistant professor, said he felt the video was a cheap shot at students trying to raise awareness about an issue because the students aren't confrontational at their teach-ins.
"Satire is one of the hardest things to do as comedy," Weffer said. "If you fail at it, then you come of as offensive."
This video speaks to a cultural insensitivity that's becoming more prevalent, he said, referring to recent racist incidents at UC San Diego, Davis and Irvine.
"In comparison to what's going on at other UCs, it's minimal," he said. "All these things speak to an inability to talk about race and ethnicity, so when students get to college this is what happens."
Darcy said he had nothing to do with the creation of the video and that he just posted it to the page because he thought it was sort of funny.
The actual creator of the video wished to remain anonymous, but told the Sun-Star in an e-mail that he didn't intend for the video to be offensive or racist.
"I made the video as a tongue-in-cheek look at the current Chicano Studies discussion happening on Facebook," he said. "It was designed to challenge, in a conservative satirical manner, the exclusivist desires of members of our student body. The animated videos of UC Merced that I have produced go after liberal ideology in general and are, first and foremost, meant to be satirical." The Facebook page is nonpartisan, but coincidentally, more conservative people end up posting, Darcy said.
Darcy said he welcomes left-leaning animated videos, too.
Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209)385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.