Joint Statement on Pan-African Research Fellowships

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Public Affairs (on behalf of the UCSC Pan-African Research Fellows, Chancellor Larive, interim Vice Chancellor Jennifer Baszile, interim Director of EOP Aaron Jones)

Dear Campus Community,

On June 2, the Black Student Union at UC Santa Cruz wrote an open letter entitled “The Unrelenting Anti-Blackness of 2020” to advocate for transformational change that addresses anti-Blackness and inequity on the UCSC campus. Too often, our campus has responded to student advocacy with deflection, making meaningful change difficult to achieve. We must break this pattern and develop new and consistent ways to listen to – and collaborate with – African, Black and Caribbean (ABC) students. In doing this, we promote institutional accountability while ensuring that student advocacy leads to equitable and sustainable change.

Black student advocates created this opportunity through their deep dialogue and engagement with the issues marginalized communities face on campus, including racism, housing insecurity, hate-bias reporting and policing. Campus leaders responded to students with a timeline for action and tangible opportunities for continued student engagement.

We write to confirm that students have applied for and been accepted to eight paid undergraduate summer fellowships, the Pan-African Research Fellowship, designed for students to conduct research into barrier identification in the areas of ABC student wellness, learning, engagement and career preparation. This pilot program was co-created with ABC students and guided by student research and advocacy goals to achieve more coalition-building between the student body and administrators.

The eight research project titles are:
  • Black Space in Formation: Queer and Trans Modes of Survival, Resistance, and Self-Making at UC Santa Cruz
  • ABC Voices and the UCPD: Black Students’ Perceptions, Experiences and Needs Regarding On-Campus Police at UC Santa Cruz
  • UC Resource Centers and the Black Student Experience
  • Understanding Burnout in the UC: A Comparative Analysis of Retention and Graduation Rates Between Black and Non-Black Students
  • Higher Education’s “Black Agenda” in 2020 and Beyond
  • No Place to Call Home, No Space to Find Solace: The Relationship Between the Santa Cruz Housing Crisis and Academic Achievement for Black UC Santa Cruz Students
  • Safe Spaces for Black Muslim Students:  An Analysis of the Black Muslim Student Experience at UC Santa Cruz
  • Hate Bias Reporting Systems: The Impact of Microaggressions on ABC Student Wellness and Sense of Belonging at UC Santa Cruz  
The goal is for students, faculty and staff to work collaboratively with a spirit of creative problem-solving and an openness to change. If you would like to learn more, please contact Dr. Aaron Jones (

In addition to the fellowships, before October 1, university administration will:
  • Establish an Office of ABC Student Success. The activities and work of the Office of ABC Student Success will span all areas of the student experience, and will be housed in the Division of Student Affairs and Success. The Advocate for ABC Student Success will report directly to the interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success.
  • Perform a review of the cultural competency capacity in CAPS and ensure that appointment and practitioner capacity exist to meet the needs of ABC, Muslim and LGBTQIA+ students seeking support.
  • Develop and agree to a roadmap for progress that defines measurable action steps on a clear timeline.
We are committed to the success of this work and to making sustainable progress at UCSC. These projects will serve as models of equitable engagement for our campus moving forward.