April 30, 2014
To Whom It May Concern,
We, as concerned students of UC Davis and Davis community members, would like to declare our utter offense and disgust with an off campus event organized by UC Davis students.
It has been brought to our attention that a “Cinco de Drinko Sloshball” facebook event page was created by UC Davis Coffeehouse (Coho) student employees earlier this week. The event is a party intended to have attendees dress in “festive” attire, meaning stereotypical “Mexican” dress (a sombrero and sarape, fake mustache, etc.). In addition, attendees are given an image that demonstrates the attire they should wear, which includes a border patrol officer costume. These images are hurtful to our community and only serve to create a hostile campus climate by sending a message of disregard and disrespect for the Chican@/Latin@ and Undocumented/Immigrant campus community.
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that marks and celebrates the victory over French rule that was momentous for the state of Puebla, Mexico. This holiday is often manipulated by individuals, who use inaccurate images of Mexican culture and affiliate it strongly with alcoholic consumption, despite the fact that there is no real correlation between the two. The fact that these student employees, who represent the university, are perpetuating this ignorance with no sensitivity towards the Chican@/Latin@ or Undocumented/Immigrant community on our campus,is a reflection of the lack of respect for different cultures and student experiences.
Similar events have been held in the past, such as the “Cinco de Drinko (Mayo) Sloshball” event that took place on May 5th, 2012 and the “Uni-Coho SLOSHBALL” event that took place on May 4th, 2013, both held at Slide Hill Park (See previous Facebook event pages). This should not be, nor should it become, a tradition for UC Davis students, especially not for student employees who should be upholding the UC Davis Principles of Community, since they are the face of the University.
It is ironic that this event is scheduled to take place on the same day as La Gran Tardeada (the culmination of La Raza Cultural Days), which in turn, marginalizes the Chican@/Latin@ community on campus even further. It is also an indication of where the campus-wide community stands when it comes to cultural competency and understanding and upholding our Principles of Community. La Raza Cultural Days and other cultural celebrations during the year are often denied adequate support. Regretful events, such as this “party”, tell us that we have not come as far as we’d like to claim with cultural competency and need to support these programs every opportunity possible. Cultural Days are in place as a means to educate the UC Davis and the community at large about the issues, culture, and struggle of various historically marginalized communities. This “Cinco de Drinko Sloshball” event invalidates years of work from multiple organizations, student centers, departments and students on a day that ironically is meant to celebrate and unite the community. We need to be mindful of the message that the UC Davis students who plan these racist and hurtful events send to prospective students, current students, their families and the community as a whole.
Students planning and participating in this event should be trained to understand why these events are hurtful, offensive, and backward. Despite the years of progress that have been made by strides in the Chican@/Latin@ community at UC Davis, these racist actions remind us that there is still much work to be done. We urge UC Davis and the Coffeehouse to hold its student employees accountable for their actions and take appropriate and effective steps forward to ensure that these type of events will not take place again.
Concerned Students and Community Members of UC Davis