The words “STOP THE INVASION, KILL A MEXICAN” were found today in a men’s restroom at Cowell. This is absolutely OUT-FUCKING-RAGEOUS. Despite this being a complete shock it is also not a surprise… This is only one instance of the milieu of racist/heterosexist/white supremacist graffiti throughout UCSC (click here to see more images). Such graffiti gets ignored and painted over yet when a violent threat at social sciences becomes an issue worth the administrations time they send an email and essentially shut down that portion of the campus. Where is the response for this type of graffiti? These expressions are a reflection of the campus climate here at UCSC yet there seems to be no response from the administration because it is not within the priorities of the university to address these issues. The university has been charged with anti-antisemitism and is under investigation yet seems to ignore the overabundance of violent graffiti directed at students/people of color. That is why WE MUST MAKE IT A PRIORITY FOR THEM BY SHOWING THEM WE WILL NOT TAKE THIS LYING DOWN.
This most recent expression of nativist graffiti is not only an attack on Mexicans but in fact an attack on immigrant peoples from the Americas. It is an expression of US American fears and violent hostilities that resemble that of the Tea Party or Minutemen. It is an expression that is all too common throughout the campus and throughout the nation.
I would like us to consider the particular location we are at Locally/Globally. Currently we have over 1000 indigenous/latina women raped, murdered, disappeared throughout the Americas, the US is currently involved in +3 Military engagements (Wars), the shooting of Oscar Grant, corporate welfare/bailouts, the BP oil spill, & the decline of the quality of our education, etc. When we consider these things I would like to ask:
- What is the responsibility of the student in the global 2000s?
- Where does our power lie and what can we demand from the university?
- What relationship does the university assume with students of color?
- What resources are here, where, why, how, and when will we see these resources expanded?
- When will we see the development of a Critical Race & Ethnic Studies Department/ Third World College?
Lastly I would like us to consider that these expressions as a violence upon us and our people. What does this graffiti mean to the brown people that clean the bathrooms? What implications does this have for the safety of the student/worker? What can we begin to do?
I would imagine that we mobilize and begin thinking about what sort of demands we will make of the university/administration. I by no means wish to impose my ideas or demands but I would like to highlight some of the demands that have been made historically:
- 1. An establishment of an Intergenerational Immigrant Resource Center, with its own physical space, as a response to the needs of undocumented students (AB540) and students from immigrant backgrounds. Funding of AB540/undocumented education through institutional aid & intervention.
- 2. The realization of a Third World College/An Ethnic Studies Department with permanent faculty lines, a major and a minor, and a field studies component.
- 3. The expansion of the Ethnic Resources Centers (ERC) beyond their current location, which is currently half a floor to house 4 ERC’s an example of marginalization.
- 4. The expansion of Ethnic Resources beyond the “four food groups” (Chican@/Latin@, African American, American Indian, Asian American Pacific Islander) to represent other people of color.
- 5. Sustained, fully-funded recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented and underserved communities. In particular, full-time recruiter in Student Admissions who will outreach to underserved communities in San Jose and East Palo Alto. Make Student Retention Services a responsibility of the University not the students.
I am confident that we can expand and realize these demands through consistent pressure from our movement! Now is the time to begin activating and demanding institutional responses to the cultural incompetency, racist/hostile climate, & unsafe locations at the UC Santa Cruz. Let seize the moment and be prepared to show the admin that we will not be silent!