Kerr Hall demonstration

To: UC Santa Cruz community

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

I’m pleased to announce that the student demonstration in Kerr Hall that began Tuesday has ended, with both student protesters and campus administrators agreeing on a path forward.

Our focus has been on student and staff safety from the start. No one was hurt, and the students and administrators communicated throughout.

Though we have been working with underrepresented communities, including A/BSA, we acknowledge that we have not done enough to engage with them successfully. The student demonstrators raised a number of issues with campus leaders, issues we fundamentally agree upon. Students from historically underrepresented communities deal with real challenges on campus and in the community. These difficulties include things that many people take for granted, such as finding housing or even just a sense of community.

We have long strived to have a diverse and inclusive student body at UC Santa Cruz. To that end, we’ve taken steps in recent years to support African, black and Caribbean-identified students. We’ve hired retention and recruitment specialists, and created a position for a counselor specializing in mental-health support for ABC students.

We found common ground this week on housing issues. We offered a guarantee of up to four years of housing at the Rosa Parks African-American Theme House (RPAATH) to students from underrepresented communities who live there, and we will convert a lounge at the house back to its original purpose. We will build upon current diversity education by providing an orientation that educates students on diversity competency. And to demonstrate our commitment to ABC-identified students, we’ve agreed to paint RPAATH pan-African colors to increase their visibility and sense of community.

We see these new measures as ways to meaningfully improve the ABC student experience here on campus — and in doing so improve our campus climate.

We support students exercising their First Amendment rights, but we do not endorse taking over buildings, which displaces university employees doing important work in support of the very students who entered the building.

The protesters are in the process of leaving Kerr Hall. Staffers are asked to stay away from the building until further notice. We will communicate more information as it becomes available.

Thank you to staff and students for your patience and understanding this week in dealing with this issue.