Here’s an interesting commentary from over at the Davis Vanguard about the Davis community’s knee-jerk denialism in response to anything remotely diversity-tinged: http://www.davisvanguard.org/2015/03/my-view-doth-protest-too-much-about-racism/

Here’s another good quote from the lateness Breaking the Silence event, taken from the above article, originally from Theresa Geimer: ““The light came on, if it doesn’t happen to you, these subtle things, you don’t see them. But if it’s happening to you, it’s a slap in the face each time.”

Of course, I don’t think things are always so subtle at Davis. Yes, there are a ton of subtle things you get hit with being a minority — but then there are some bigger things that makes it harder just to, say, get a simple form submitted.

Here’s another interesting quote from the commentary:
“I remember my wife’s niece coming to visit, complaining about being followed by the police. When 2006 happened with the police issues, I came into contact with a large number of people of color and slowly their stories came together to form a very different picture of Davis than the one I knew previously or had personally experienced.

Many people of color, if not most, have a story about racial profiling or at least what seemed to them to be racial profiling. Many had stories of differential treatment in places of business. Many African-American students at UC Davis have told me that they feel extremely uncomfortable going into Davis because of how they are treated.”

Both Chancellor Katehi and the UCD Police have stepped up their communication via email this school year. Katehi often makes calls for calm whether it be tuition increases or divestment votes. The UCD Police has been more aggressive in spreading the word about crime.

Last week, when the historically Jewish AEPi fraternity awoke to find swastikas spray-painted on their home, Chancellor Katehi was the one to alert campus and speak strongly against this hate crime. This is a step in the right direction for a campus that has often ignored hate crimes. It was strange however that no crime alert came from the UCD Police.

More recently, Chancellor Katehi sent another email regarding hate at Davis. Unfortunately this email was not a forthright as the previous. Katehi alluded to incidents, but did not name them. It seems Davis is once again back to hiding their hate rather than truly confronting it. Apparently there was hate at the Jewish Hillel House that would have gone as unreported business as usual (See:
More Anti-Jewish Graffiti Found at a Jewish Student Organization House in Davis). At the same time, students wearing head scarves are being called terrorists while on campus. Likely there were other incidents of Islamophobia as well, especially given the Campus Climate Survey finding that less than half of UCD’s Muslim employees felt the campus was welcoming to religious views. We should know what all of these incidents are. Davis should continue to move towards transparency in reported violations and members of the community should report these issues when they feel safe doing so. Anonymous online reporting is available here: http://studentaffairs.ucdavis.edu/reportit/

It would be easy to blame any of these incidents on the recent divestment vote. That doesn’t make it understandable or okay. Furthermore, it doesn’t make these incidents “isolated.” While there are actions that are intertwined, we can’t forget that these things have been happening at Davis for a long time, including times when there was no recent or imminent vote or speaker. There are definitely people in Davis who do not have strong feelings about divestment but do seem to have strong, negative feelings about those who are Muslim, Arab, or ethnically or religiously Jewish.

Chancellor Katehi’s most recent email pins most of the blame on folks outside Davis. This is once again ignoring the problem in Davis. It is not people outside of Davis who are shouting ‘terrorist’ at practicing Muslims while they are on campus. It is not people outside of Davis vandalizing Jewish spaces inside of Davis. These incidents are happening at Davis.

The breakdown of the 27% who have seriously considered leaving UC Davis in the past year are 17% of graduate students and 29% of post-docs/trainees. It is too bad they didn’t include a question to better sort out which were due to high tuition and which were due to other reasons or make a table with the minority breakdowns, which were included, but made more difficult to understand than the results of other questions. Not surprisingly, the percentages for minorities skewed higher. For the graduate student group, that means 19% of women, 19% of underrepresented minority, and 26% of LGBQ students seriously considered this. That’s about 1 in 5 or 1 in 4.

Here are some more pieces from the Campus Climate Survey findings:

Exclusionary, Intimidating, Offensive and/or Hostile Conduct
24% “believed that they had personally experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct”.

“Underrepresented Minority respondents and Other People of Color respondents were less comfortable than White respondents and Multi-Minority respondents with the overall climate and the workplace climate. White respondents were more comfortable with the climate in their classes than other racial groups.”

“More than one-quarter of Underrepresented Minority respondents (26%), Jewish respondents (27%), and respondents with Multiple Religious/Spiritual Affiliations (30%) observed conduct or communications directed towards a person or group of people at UC Davis that created an exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile working or learning environment within the past year”

“Genderqueer respondents (45%), transgender respondents (37%), LGBQ respondents (33%), and respondents with disabilities (33%) were more likely to have observed exclusionary conduct than were other groups”

The most common was derogatory remarks but also high on the list was being bullied, being isolated, being profiled or being told their success was due to their minority status. However, 4.3% received threats of physical violence and 4.2% experienced physical violence.

The breakdown of the perpetrators was all across the board, from administrators to supervisors to students.

Only 6% of these incidents got reported to campus officials — reasons for not reporting included not knowing how and not believing the complaint would be taken seriously. Some claimed they did report and their complaint was not taken seriously. As a reminder, you can now report at: http://studentaffairs.ucdavis.edu/reportit/ and through the UC system at: http://ucsystems.ethicspointvp.com/custom/ucs_ccc/default.asp

Regarding the findings in these sections, the report uses a cut-and-paste paragraph about not being out of line with other institutions based on one consultant’s reports (though Davis is on the negative side of the ranges given there). It’s as if the UC system does not see these numbers as an issue. It is amazing they don’t see how bad this in light of the fact of how many of those surveyed are coming from a place of privilege (for example, the majority of respondents are white and many other groups are small percentages). When asked about possible campus initiatives, some survey respondents noted that services and programs to promote diversity were underfunded and were having their funding cut.

Faculty/Student Relations
36.4% of students agree with “I think faculty pre-judge my abilities based on perceived identity/background”

Post-docs / Graduate or Professional Students / Trainees / Staff / Faculty
Statements posed to post-docs/graduates/trainees/staff/faculty and the percent agreement:

  • “I am reluctant to bring up issues that concern me for fear that it will affect my performance evaluation or tenure/merit/promotion decision” (26.9%)
  • “My colleagues/co-workers expect me to represent “the point of view” of my identity (21.6% )
  • “I have to work harder than I believe my colleagues/co-workers do in order to achieve the same recognition” (28.1%)
  • “There are many unwritten rules concerning how one is expected to interact with colleagues in my work unit” (35.2%)

Not surprisingly, the stats were generally higher for minorities across several axes, so these summary numbers are lowered due to averaging with responses from privileged groups that made up the majority of respondents.

Staff / Faculty / Post-docs & Trainees
Only 49% of Muslim faculty, staff and post-doc/trainees felt the workplace climate was welcoming based on religious/spiritual affiliations.

18% of staff and 13% of faculty “believed they observed hiring practices at UC Davis (e.g., hiring supervisor bias, search committee bias, limited recruiting pool, lack of effort in diversifying recruiting pool) that they perceived to be unfair or unjust or would inhibit diversifying the community within the past year/hiring cycle” The summary for the section referred to this as “few” …so 1 in 6 is “few” for the UC system.

57% of faculty “believed tenure standards and advancement standards were equally applied to all UC Davis faculty.” and “Underrepresented Minority Faculty, Multi-Minority Faculty, women faculty, LGBQ faculty, and Faculty with disabilities were less likely to believe that tenure standards and advancement standards were equally applied to all UC Davis faculty.”

Whoa: http://www.theaggie.org/2014/03/13/guest-opinion-an-incident-of-hate/

UC Davis Police use excessive force requiring an ambulance, refer to students in derogatory and racist ways, violate rights, and lie about the law. I want to hear more about this incident. Scary stuff.

There has been no response from the UCDPD or the administration. Though the letter writer is (understandably) anonymous, this was published in the campus newspaper and is a very serious allegation. I would expect a campus-wide email from the chancellor explaining the matter is under investigation.

The UC Davis police have a record of brutality and slurs. If something bad happens at UC Davis, especially if you’re a minority, you can’t expect the UC Davis police to help you. Your question is: who can help you when the police act this way to you? This incident demonstrates no one can.

I’m glad that the anonymous writer shared what they witnessed and The Aggie published it. I wonder how many other such incidents get buried. Unfortunately the climate at UC Davis doesn’t allow us to learn more about the whole story.

Looks like people’s efforts have paid off. UC Davis finally catches up to other UCs with an online hate incident reporting scheme. See here: http://studentaffairs.ucdavis.edu/reportit/ 

It allows anonymous reporting. If you are reporting anonymously, try to access it from off-campus like at a cafe with free wireless. On campus, they can associate anything with your login.

Hopefully UC Davis will take the reports seriously. In case they don’t, I would also report any incidents to the UC-wide online system here: https://ucsystems.ethicspointvp.com/custom/ucs_ccc/default.asp

I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to contact at UC Davis office regarding needed administrative activities and gotten no response. I’ve tried email, which I prefer because it leaves a record. I’ve tried phone calls — always to voicemail, rarely returned. I’ve tried voicemail plus an email to make a record that contact was initiated. I’ve tried coming in person and am told to wait in a chair near the front desk and then an hour later told no one can see me and to try email. More often than not, I won’t hear anything. At all. Ever.

So what to do? Pick another contact in the office and repeat the process. If the general email isn’t working, start trying individuals in the org. chart. Maybe after five or so, you’ll reach someone willing to respond. Maybe not.

Sometimes I get a response every five business days. It doesn’t matter how fast I respond, even within minutes of their response — I’m not hearing back for another week. I watch some opportunities evaporate and fees add up while this foot dragging on my paperwork happens.

It’s not like I don’t do my homework. I carefully read all of the information online before I get to this stage because I know it’s going to be such a headache for me.

A few times I’ve had to guess and hope that I don’t wake up to an email telling me I have a penalty because I did something wrong. (That’s happened.) A few times I had to get a third party involved.

It’s really frustrating when I see a fellow graduate student, without an ethnic name like mine, do the exact same thing I did and get a response in a reasonable amount of time. Sadly I have not been fortunate in getting these souls to help me, because they refuse to see that I’m having a problem.

Last Friday, Chancellor Katehi sent a rare message addressing racist incidents on campus. There was one for the racist vandalism on the civil rights movement anniversary a few months ago. The time before was two years ago — regarding a noose that appeared during a diversity conference (with no mention of the swastikas that came with it). There was not a peep from the Katehi, or usually anyone else in the administration, for many of the other reported incidents in between, some of which involved physical threats, assault, or violence.

Katehi’s message conveniently arrived on the Friday before the Thanksgiving Break when The Aggie won’t be publishing for two weeks and most people are too busy with holiday plans to take notice of the news.

This particular missive was in response to two separate incidents of students being harassed by tormenters in cars yelling racial slurs. It’s not uncommon to hear derogatory language on campus, so I’m curious as to why these particular incidents were taken seriously.

Katehi ends the email with the usual imploring to always report such incidents to the police or the administration — yet Davis continues to make this difficult by not having an online form or any way to report anonymously. Some of us have been put through the ringer by the Davis machine and aren’t so trusting that their concerns will be handled without retaliation, especially when recently administrators and campus police did nothing but look on while students were threatened for their ethnicity.

Another surprise in Katehi’s message was the reference to Kristallnacht. Despite writing about the noose during the Students of Color Conference in 2011, Katehi made no mention of the swastikas that also appeared at the time, despite it also being the same month as Kristallnacht.

This might have something to do with the growing concerns of Jewish students, as summarized in Jewish Students Uncomfortable on Campus. It’s not uncommon to hear anti-Semitic slurs, stereotyping or rhetoric on campus. However, I bet Jewish students would appreciate having police and administrators actually take action when they are present when Jewish students are harassed and assaulted on campus or even neutral observers are stalked and harassed for supporting free speech of Jewish students, instead of just throwing a passing reference in an email that wasn’t meant to be read.

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