On the morning of California’s largest statewide strike and Day of Action for Public Education to date, University of California campuses continue to be plagued by a slew of racist, homophobic, Anti-semitic and transphobic actions.
LGBT Resource Center Vandalized at UC Davis
This was discovered Saturday morning. There are responses from the LGBT Resource Center and from the Co-Chair of the State UCLGBTQIA Association.
Swastika Carved into Jewish Student’s Door at UC Davis
The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
“For girls: For those of you who are unfamiliar with ghetto chicks-Ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes [...] They also have short, nappy hair, and usually wear cheap weave, usually in bad colors, such as purple or bright red. They look and act similar to Shenaynay, and speak very loudly, while rolling their neck, and waving their finger in your face. Ghetto chicks have a very limited vocabulary, and attempt to make up for it, by forming new words, such as “constipulated”, or simply cursing persistently, or using other types of vulgarities, and making noises, such as “hmmg!”, or smacking their lips, and making other angry noises, grunts, and faces. The objective is for all you lovely ladies to look, act, and essentially take on these “respectable” qualities throughout the day.”
UC San Diego Student Radio Station hurls racist slurs
Students from the station called protesters of the Compton Cookout “ungrateful n*****s” on air. A note with the words “Compton Lynching” was found on the ground.
Noose hung at UC San Diego library
The student who confessed to hanging the noose maintains she had no racial motivation, and that she simply found a piece of rope while with friends, her friend tied it, brought it with her to the library, and left it there by accident. A note was found saying, “More Nooses to Come.”
KKK Hood Placed on Statue at UC San Diego
Tuesday, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, his statue was adorned with a KKK hood and a rose was placed in his fingers.
Noose Drawn at UC Santa Cruz
Administrators found this in a UC Santa Cruz restroom. The word “Visionary” is written below it.
The “Irvine 11″ at UC Irvine
Eleven students at UC Irvine protested the visit of Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, and were arrested because their choice to exercise free speech happened to concern Israel. Faculty have battled over whether their protest or their arrest was the “true” act of prejudice. The students were removed from the event one by one, by police officers, and now as a collective group, are being threatened with expulsion. Their punishment is inordinate because of the subject matter they were protesting.
Two LGBTQ-identified UC Riverside students attacked
This hate crime occurred on February 10. Two UCR students, holding hands, were attacked by 3 assailants, who beat them while shouting anti-gay epithets in an area directly located off of the campus.
Noose Drawn on Black figure at UC Berkeley residence
This month, a UC Berkeley cooperative student housing facility had a mural defaced with a noose drawn around a black figure. It was cleaned up.
I grew up blocks from UC Davis. I spent last Christmas with my partner in Riverside, where we couldn’t hold hands because we felt it was an unsafe environment. We were right. My childhood friends attend Santa Cruz, I attend UC Berkeley, and I was at UC San Diego with hundreds of other students for the Students of Color Conference last November. The University of California system is hurting, and emergency townhalls are being called across the state, especially in the LGBT and black communities. It’s a scary time to be queer, a person of color, or both in California today. Luckily, some students respond intelligently.
Tuesday, UC Davis held a queer townhall and UC Santa Barbara planned a townhall for next week. Wednesday, UC Berkeley held a queer townhall, as well as a teach-in in preparation for tomorrow’s statewide Day of Action for Public Education. But as we Berkeley organizers gathered Tuesday night to plan the queer townhall, debating for hours whether to create a space for healing or a space for action, we realized that we ourselves had not yet processed the blows dealt to our communities. Presented with dozens of images of hate on the Berkeley campus and systemwide, students embraced a new slogan: “Real pain, real action.”
The UC Berkeley Black Recruitment and Retention Center held a “Black-out” Monday, where around 200 members dressed entirely in black and silently blocked the entrance to Sather Gate, the most prominent walkway on campus, to represent the invisibility of black students on UC campuses.
At Monday night’s Emergency Black Townhall at Berkeley, a student leader explained the reason for limiting this action to black students only: after the Compton Cook-out and the noose found at UC San Diego, it was necessary to unify the scattered and wounded black community and “Get from -1 to zero.” Then, with the help of allies, Berkeley can move “From zero to 1.”
March 4 will be a statewide success, with marches, protests, picket lines and strikes, rallies, sit-ins, occupations, legislative lobbying, and impressive action on the magnitude of K-12, community college, state university, and University of California involvement. We might wake up and see fire on the news. But just as the budget cuts, fee hikes, police brutality, and violent response to student occupations deteriorate the UC system, so do the racist, transphobic, and homophobic actions across the state. Chancellors will send out emails praising police actions, and these hateful incidents will be ignored for a day as administrative buildings are locked or shut down statewide.
But it’s no coincidence that the students targeted by these hateful incidents, black students, LGBTQ students, and all underrepresented or minority students, are among those driven away from higher education by tuition increases. Tomorrow, the students on the front lines will be fighting not only for the right to step foot on a college campus, but to feel safe when we arrive. California students, staff, parents, and faculty will unite today for higher education, but we all have some healing to do first.
Keep track of March 4 events at the UC Student Regent’s blog, or twitter.
University of California Walkout Today
Police Brutality against CA Protesters for Higher Education