Anti-Racism and Equity in Academia

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive and Interim Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer

Today, many in academia will be taking time to stop and reflect on the structural inequities in our country and within academia led by #Strike4BlackLives, #ShutDownSTEM, and #ShutDownAcademia. In particular, this is a call for the academic community as knowledge producers and as educators to take seriously our ethical obligation to eradicate anti-Black racism and discrimination. 

Organizers have called for us to recognize June 10 as a day to educate ourselves and others about our role in perpetuating racism as well as to create action plans to carry anti-racist work forward. We encourage you to take time today to heed this call. We also ask that supervisors across campus accommodate this movement in all ways that do not compromise access to student-support services and campus health and safety needs.

On our campus, “business as usual” has for too long meant responding only when frustration and anger have reached a fever pitch, and then only to the symptoms of inequity, not the underlying structures. In the coming weeks and months, we invite you to join us in breaking this cycle. Today is a symbolic step that will be followed by consistent action in all domains of our shared enterprise.

The institutional focus must shift to explore the many ways that inequity impedes our ability to achieve our mission. One highly visible example that will be the focus of our work in the coming academic year is in graduation gaps between students from different backgrounds and racial groups. Such gaps can no longer be acceptable or normal at UC Santa Cruz. Many things contribute to these gaps including feeling unwelcome on our campus, lacking appropriate financial support, and administrative processes that are misaligned or take too much work from students. To make substantive change, this effort will also require analysis of aggregate course-level data, especially for gateway courses, that report on the rates at which students succeed in the course, and whether all groups of students succeed on an equal basis. We ask every person on this campus to recognize that closing these gaps is a priority and a social justice and educational equity issue. We ask you to join us in this and work. 


Cindy and Lori


Cynthia Larive


Lori Kletzer

Interim Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor