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.