National Coming Out Day

To: UCSC Faculty, Staff, and Students

From: Campus Diversity Officers Herbie Lee and Ashish Sahni

We open this message on a celebratory and supportive note for National Coming Out Day, October 11, while acknowledging somber news across our country regarding the tragic suicides of gay youth and youth who were perceived to be gay by their harassers.

These tragedies affect not only the student community, not only the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (GLBTI) community and their allies, but our entire campus community. The recent arrival of new students on our campus serves as a reminder that some of our students have chosen, or will choose, to come out for the first time during their college experience, believing that this is a safe environment in which to do so. As your campus diversity officers, we share responsibility with others for providing such an environment, and we invite your input on how we are doing (


The fact that the deaths of Justin Aaberg, Asher Brown, Raymond Chase, Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas and Seth Walsh were linked to peer harassment and bullying calls us to stand up strongly against such discriminatory and hurtful behavior. If you believe you have witnessed or that you have been a target of a hate or bias-motivated incident on campus or while participating in a university-sponsored activity, we urge you to report the incident (anonymously, if you wish). Resources include the Student Judicial Affairs Office for student-related matters and Campus Diversity Officer Ashish Sahni ( for staff- and faculty-related matters. The campus also offers Hate/Bias-Motivated Incident Reporting Forms. Every report receives immediate attention and is taken very seriously; appropriate action is taken. Hate and bias-motivated incidents will not be tolerated, whether the incidents are student, staff, or faculty-related or involve campus guests.

UCSC was recently ranked highly as an LGBT-friendly campus, receiving five out of five stars, from the Campus Pride Index (click here for details of UCSC’s rating). We take pride in this recognition as we remind everyone to remain vigilant in our efforts to create a campus climate that is inclusive, respectful, and welcoming to all. As we celebrate this achievement, we must be mindful that we are not immune to hate/bias incidents and bullying. During the last year, student-on-student and staff-on-staff sexual orientation based hate/bias incidents were addressed on our campus.

What are we doing? The following are a few of the collaborative efforts we have initiated:

However, there is more work to do. Are we all doing everything possible to promote a healthy climate on our campus? What specific actions can be taken towards this end? Campus climate cannot depend on the actions of one office or one group but requires the efforts and commitments of all campus members. UCSC students, faculty and staff need to proactively dialogue and act to create a campus community that reflects our Principles of Community. We need to continue to strive to be diverse, open, purposeful, caring, just, disciplined, and celebrative. To facilitate such dialogue and actions, we will work closely with the Lionel Cantú GLBTI Resource Center to develop and coordinate opportunities for us to engage as a community. Please see below for details regarding a vigil that the Cantú Center has organized.

In closing, we want to welcome our new and returning GLBTI students, faculty, and staff as vital and valued members of our campus community. National Coming Out Day represents pride, courage and self-respect. We can all learn from and should aspire to practice such values.


HEAL:  Honoring, Educating, Activating, Living Queer  

Tuesday, October 19, 5-9 p.m.

Join the campus community in honoring queer youth who have taken their lives, or whose lives have been taken from them by homo-, bi-, transphobic violence. A period of remembering and mourning will take place in the College 9/10 Multipurpose Room from 5-6:15 p.m., followed by a teach-in with films and speakers from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Namaste Lounge. We will conclude with a candlelight march and speak-out from 8-9 p.m.

For more details, subscribe to the Cantú Queer Center's e-newsletter by going to