Defying those who seek to divide us

To: UCSC Community

From: Cynthia Larive Chancellor, Akirah Bradley-Armstrong Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success and Anju Reejhsinghani Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

During move-in weekend, someone burned and destroyed the Mexican flag of a new student and their visiting family. The destruction of this important symbol of Mexican and Chicanx culture is disgraceful and abhorrent. Acts like these attempt to inspire fear, make some members of our community feel like they don’t belong, and slow our work by pulling us out of community with one another and undermining our shared values. It is so important that we not give in to those who seek to divide us.

We say unequivocally to our Mexican, Chicanx, and Latinx students and community members: You belong here at UC Santa Cruz. The destruction of the flag was heinous and unacceptable. We are investigating this crime and will hold those responsible for this accountable.

Many in our community have shared that they do not feel that the university has acted on this issue. We want to assure you that we always take situations like this seriously. A lack of public notice does not reflect whether an investigation has begun or whether support has been provided to those directly impacted. Part of processes like these may entail upholding the confidentiality of those who report such incidents, and we ask you to respect that privacy. We want all of our community members to feel confident reporting incidents. Know that we strive to handle these issues immediately and with the care and gravity that such situations require.

We’re unlikely to prevent all bad actors from engaging in hateful acts or speech in the future. But we can take this opportunity to defy those who would divide us, to lift up and support those who have been harmed, and to recognize that the good work we do together is bigger than any attempt to tear us apart.

If you are feeling the impact of these events and need support, please do not hesitate to reach out to campus services. Counseling and Psychological Services provides a range of mental health and wellness services for students, while YOU@College is a powerful online platform that offers personalized mental health and physical well-being resources. On the Margins offers individual coaching sessions focused on healing and resiliency practices to deepen and sustain students’ personal, social, and academic well-being and goals. The professional staff in our colleges and our resource centers, including El Centro, do amazing work and can also provide support. Our Employee Assistance Program offers counseling and support to employees. If you have information about this incident, please contact UCPD. Please continue to report any acts of hate and bias that you are aware of. There is no place for hate and bias at UC Santa Cruz.