CHANCELLOR'S REMARKS TO THE BOARD OF REGENTS
March 29, 2010
Here are Chancellor Katehi's preparked remarks, delivered to the Board of Regents on March 25, as part of a discussion on recent acts of intolerance around the UC system. See separate story.
Report to UC Board of Regents
March 24, 2010
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
It breaks my heart to report to you this morning the acts of hatred and intolerance
committed over the past few weeks on the Davis campus—a campus that is widely known for its exceptional civility.
It is especially painful that these shameful acts were committed on the eve of our
20th anniversary celebration of our Principles of Community.
For two decades, these principles have fostered an environment of civility and
Sadly, a few individuals grossly violated the promise we make to one another
when we join the UC Davis family—a promise to learn from and celebrate our
Their hate took an extremely hurtful form.
Swastikas, a symbol long associated with anti-Semitism, were found on campus,
the first carved on the door of a Jewish student’s dorm room in late February and four more spray-painted around campus in early March. A sixth, carved into a hallway bulletin board at a residence hall, was found just last week though it’s thought to have been on the board for some time, covered by fliers.
And on the last weekend in February, our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
Resource Center was defaced with hurtful, derogatory words. At the center’s request, we let those wounding words remain for a day so our community could take full measure of what had been done.
And then we quickly gathered to talk about it and to formulate a campus
response. That evening, our LGBT Resource Center brought our community together at a standing-room-only town hall meeting to consider who we are and what we stand for. We raised our voices together in denouncing the hate and committing ourselves to positive change to ensure that each and every one of us feels safe and respected.
What kind of a campus can we be without that very basic guarantee?
Our police department responded quickly to each report and continues to
vigorously investigate, assisted by the FBI. The police have urged anyone with
information to call the department or the 24-hour Crime Tip Line. We will seek
prosecution of those responsible to the full extent of the law, including penalty
enhancements for hate crimes.
Our Campus Council on Community and Diversity met in emergency session to
consider how best to confront these hateful incidents and, most importantly, how to ensure a campus climate that is accepting, affirming and recognizes that diversity is one of our greatest advantages.
I have asked the council to consider what actions would be needed to declare
UC Davis a “hate-free campus.” The words declare our intention, but actions are
essential if we are to turn this aspiration into reality.
To do its work, the council will add a standing committee, including representatives from the Davis Hillel House and from BECA (Blacks for Effective
Community Action). And it will review the many actions proposed at our town hall
meeting, by our LGBT Resource Center and by our Black Student Union, with whom I recently met. I am eager to receive the council’s recommendations and to help support their implementation.
In the interim, we are launching a special year of speakers and events to affirm
our Principles of Community and celebrate their 20th anniversary. Our first speaker, on April 8, is Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He will bring his 50-state “civility tour” to UC Davis, addressing the topic of “Civility in a Fractured Society.”
On April 13, we will publicly reaffirm our Principles of Community with a resigning
of the document at our annual Soaring to New Heights diversity celebration.
To bring this document to life, we have just launched a highly interactive online
course designed to show how helpful these principles are in our daily lives—and in creating a community where all members feel respected and valued for both their similarities and their differences. We are exploring how to integrate it into the curriculum, and how best to engage our faculty, staff and students. Perhaps you might explore it, too, and give us your assessment. We would very much value your feedback.
As well, we have sought the counsel of the Anti-Defamation League, met with the
executive director of the Davis Hillel House, and spoken with rabbis from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in L.A., most recently this past Monday at the governor’s office.
I am looking forward to joining the rabbis at the Museum of Tolerance this spring.
I hope to be accompanied by student leaders who would bring back insights from the museum’s “train the trainers” program.
We are exploring, as well, the possibility of a residency with the playwright-director of The Laramie Project, a play based on Laramie residents’ reaction to the hate crime murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard.
Personal testimonies from civil rights history makers, and from survivors and
from former perpetrators of organized hatred, all have something to teach us. We will be looking intently for those opportunities as we work to make Davis truly a hate-free campus.
I will keep the president informed of our progress as our Campus Council on
Community and Diversity presents its recommendations and we take action.
On the Net
The Principles of Community online course is available through the UC Learning Center: lms.ucdavis.edu (search for “Living the Principles of Community”).
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