Instances of hate speech and expression in student spaces

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Cynthia Larive Chancellor, Lori Kletzer Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Jennifer Baszile Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success

Over the past few weeks, we have all watched the escalating Israel-Gaza violence with growing horror at the destruction and death inflicted on civilians and children. We join those hoping the brokered cease-fire holds and that a peaceful and dignified solution that honors human life and rights can be found.

Tuesday night, charged debate on the topic unfolded at a student meeting. An unusually large number of people attended the session, including many non-affiliates of campus. After reviewing documentation from the meeting, it is clear that hateful language was used against individual students and community members.

This unacceptable behavior appears to have taken the form of a “Zoom bombing” by parties not affiliated with the university that took advantage of an open meeting to inflict harm in a community space.

We uphold the right of free speech at UC Santa Cruz, and we strive for members of our community to feel safe expressing their identities and their opinions. Language and expression that denigrates and dehumanizes Jewish people, Muslim people, Palestinian people, Israeli people, or people advocating for their causes is unacceptable and has no place here.

If you need support because of impacts from this event or because of impact from the Israel-Gaza violence or any other issue, remember that staff members in our colleges, resource centers, and Counseling and Psychological Services can provide assistance for students. Our Employee Assistance Program offers counseling and support to employees.

If you have experienced discrimination or harassment on the basis of protected characteristics, please contact the Office of Equity and Equal Protection. If you experienced or witnessed an incidence of bias, please consider reporting through the Hate/Bias Response Program. Zoom bombing can be reported through an ITS Request Form and will be responded to by the Zoom bombing team.

Independent thought, diversity of opinion, and freedom of expression are at the heart of our mission as a public research university. There is a difference, however, between free speech that allows members of our community to hear, express and debate different ideas and points of view, and hateful speech that has as its primary goal to be hurtful, offensive or denigrating. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold our Principles of Community whenever they engage in speech and expression.