Troubling events impacting our Santa Cruz Community

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Teresa Maria Linda Scholz and Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success Jennifer Baszile

Troubling actions and toxic rhetoric are on display across the nation. Here in Santa Cruz, recent acts of apparent intimidation seek to divide our community and make people feel unsafe. We affirm that the diversity of community is our strength and refuse to succumb to actions or statements that seek to invalidate some members of our community.

America’s history of lynching of Black people is a national shame. Lynching was a horrific public spectacle designed to silence, traumatize, and disempower individuals and entire communities. Campus police are investigating an incident that involved four people hanging a looped rope on one of our street signs at the base of campus. Regardless of what may have been intended, these actions recall some of the ugliest legacies of white supremacy and remind us all of the daily threat of violence faced by ABC-identified students, staff, faculty, and community members. Anti-Blackness cannot stand.

In Santa Cruz, the director of the Hillel Center shared information that the center was recently vandalized by someone who appeared to be having mental health challenges and did not seem motivated by hate. The director noted that the event occurred during a time when anti-Semitic and hate-driven incidents are on the rise. We want to acknowledge the impact this incident has on our Jewish community members, who may feel unsafe and vulnerable.

Every day we must all work toward a more just and equitable country, one that acknowledges its failings and strives for equality and justice. We will not succumb to divisiveness. We will continue to support each other and strive to create a healthy and more affirming climate.

We encourage our community to reach out for support. In addition to support services offered by staff in our colleges and resource centers, Counseling and Psychological Services provides assistance for students. Santa Cruz Hillel is another source for support. For employees, the Employee Assistance Program can provide counseling and support.