A UCSC student’s response to the UCSC Administration’s response to the racist graffiti.

A UCSC student’s response:

Dearest Chancellor Blumenthal,

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to have your immensely sentimental message converted into spanish so that spanish-speaking individuals can read the message and get slapped in the face by the UCSC administration, yet again. I wish to ask you a few questions in regards to this message in addition to expressing some areas of concern.
Here is what the graffiti said: “Stop the invasion, kill a Mexican.” Let that settle within the pixels of your computer screen as I would like to request of you to take some time to read that and understand its meaning. Seriously, take time to actually read it and understand the full in-depth meaning of that statement. When you are done, I would like to ask you why on earth  did you not mention the actual graffiti statement within this email that you sent out to ‘inform’ the public? Are you trying to cover the seriousness and blatantly racist and threatening meaning behind that statement? Do you not understand the threatening nature of it?
 Let me explain how even I, a student who is not of any Hispanic/Latino decent feels that it is important for all students to know and assess the depth of that threatening statement.
Imagine that you are a Hispanic student and you come across or hear of the existence of that graffiti statement. “kill a Mexican”… KILL. Would you feel safe walking around on campus? Would you feel safe knowing that there is someone on this campus of whom is thinking and quite possibly capable of committing what he/she thought up of? The mere fact that this individual wrote this statement on a wall for all to see, in some sort of sickening effort of celebrating ones thoughts and gaining support from others sends chills down my spine. It was written on a public wall! Could there be others out there? Do you understand Mr. Blumenthal? Students do not feel safe.
Us students can stand outside of your office and scream these words WE DO NOT FEEL SAFE for months…. yet all you will do is sit in that air conditioned office and send emails out to ‘inform’ everyone of how much you care. But you see Mr. Blumenthal, we are not unintelligent students. We know. We can read. We know that you truly do not understand. Because if you really did understand, you would step out of that office, out of that meeting, and talk to us. You wouldn’t feel the need or duty to send out some email lathered up in the typical PR filth and try to force feed us that you care. We know that you don’t.
You might as well send this same email that is probably filed in your computer under the title of “Response to Racism” in response to a mars alien invasion, and it wouldn’t make a difference to any student on campus.
You may have written this email to inform students and to keep them safe. But everyone knows that the basic attempt to be informed of all details of the incident, and of all resources available to oneself is the only way to stay safe. You have neither provided adequate information about the incident itself, you have not provided information in regards to the intensity and danger of the incident, nor have you provided information about any resources that could be available to students. Instead you list a committee that you are part of in some sad attempt to show the student body that you are ‘actively involved’ in diversity.
As a student who feels threatened and unsafe, how would me sitting in a committee make me feel safe? Will that inform the entire campus about the situation? Would it force students to put themselves in the uncomfortable position of talking about race and privilege? NO. It won’t.
My solution? Either stop sending emails to the entire student body that have no meaning, no sentiments, and no substance. Or wipe that fake PR facade off and actually step outside of your privilege, outside of your position of power, and address this issue like a human being.
Please… for the sake of the students, for the safety of students on campus. Please care.

At 4:24 PM on Friday May 6, 2011  Chancellor Blumenthal responded to the OFFENSIVE and RACIST graffiti found in the Cowell bathroom at UCSC, here is what was said:

La versión en español acompañará la publicación de este mensaje.

May 6, 2011

To: UCSC Community

Fr: Chancellor Blumenthal
Re: Offensive graffiti on campus
I learned this morning that offensive graffiti was discovered in a men’s restroom at Cowell College. The graffiti included a specific threat against “Mexicans.”
This incident is deeply disturbing, and I want to remind all members of the campus community that we do not tolerate hate speech of any kind on this campus.
Police are investigating this incident as a potential hate crime. If you have any information about this graffiti, please contact UCSC Police immediately at 831-459-2231. Reports may also be made anonymously online or by calling 459-3TIP (831-459-3847). The graffiti itself was removed after authorities documented it for their investigation.
I want students, staff, and faculty to know that support is available to anyone who has been affected by this incident.
UCSC promotes a climate of inclusion that respects students, staff, faculty, and guests of all races, religions, ethnic groups, traditions, backgrounds, orientations, and cultures. I believe a diverse community fosters understanding and tolerance, and enhances the educational experience that is at the heart of UC’s mission.
Please join me in condemning this incident and reaffirming your own commitment to the UCSC Principles of Community. As you may know, I chair the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion. Please take this opportunity to learn more about our work and to consider becoming involved. Please write to me with your ideas and suggestions for how we can continue to build a stronger and more inclusive campus community at UCSC. You can reach me at chancellor@ucsc.edu.

About UCSC Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES)

This blog is maintained by students throughout UCSC. We recognize that students have been working around Ethnic Studies for multiple decades and at many levels of the university. We claim no ownership over any movement or material that is produced. We ask that any materiel used from the blog is cited and used for only educational purposes. Most importantly that it is done with honor and respect for the many people who worked in the struggle for Ethnic Studies. We would also like to point out that the name Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) was created to acknowledge the intellectual development of Ethnic Studies since the beginning of this struggle. The name came from countless meetings and hours with many different undergrads, graduate students, and faculty.
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One Response to A UCSC student’s response to the UCSC Administration’s response to the racist graffiti.

  1. Concerned says:

    I have a few brief points:
    1. Why do we have our chancellor sending out emails in multiple languages? This is a university with state employees managing and operating it. Is it unreasonable to assume that a precondition to both attending an institution of higher learning in this state and country (where the accepted language is English) and working for the government of said state and country is the ability to understand English? As a state, California should not be hiring employees who do not understand English; this adds a burden onto an already failing system. If a student can get a degree without being able to understand English (in an institution which almost all classes are only offered in English) what does that say about the rest of the students receiving degrees? (Subtext: if the classes are so easy that one can pass them without knowing English, the degree will be worthless).
    Solution to 1: Don’t hire government employees or admit students who cannot understand English. Instead, offer ways for them to learn English prior to application. Stop spending state money on translating messages to Spanish.

    2: Bus station graffiti is usually very offensive. Why isn’t anyone concerned with that? What about any major fast food chain’s bathroom graffiti; where is the concern? Obviously we should not tolerate people making threats against others’ lives; however, when are we going to wake up and realize we are making mountains out of mole hills? A call to action over what someone has written in the bathroom (at any level including at the chancellors office) seems gratuitous. Unfortunately, in our current “political climate,” we force people like the chancellor to play “Cover Your Ass” every time some moron decides to scribble something offensive on a bathroom stall.
    Solution to 2: Instead of mounting huge rallies and standing outside buildings, how about take paint to the bathrooms and cover up the graffiti as it happens? This will take away the power of those who feel it is OK to write statements with that kind of hatred.

    In short, we should stop spending state money and increasing the burden of the tax payers. Rather than complaining to someone higher up and demanding they deal with the problems you encounter, find ways to have productive activism and make positive changes.


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