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Letter to the University of California, UC Santa Cruz, Chancellor Blumenthal and Administration
February 25th, 2015
We, the Queer, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Ally, People of Color, and all other marginalized people within the University of California Santa Cruz remain in a state of shock, pain, and terror following the February 6th, 2015 hate crime attack at Kresge College. On the basis of their sexual orientation, the victim had their wrist broken in three places and shattered in one place, broken knuckles, a fractured jaw, a dislocated hip, and suffered a concussion. A member of our community was brutally beaten and injured and we are livid.
On the night of February 18th, 2015, Kresge College’s Town Hall opened its doors to provide a space, dubbed “Strength Through Solidarity”, for discourse regarding the Kresge Hate Crime. The night resulted in UC Santa Cruz professional staff announcing resources for healing and coping with the attack followed by an open mic for expressing sadness and anger. The event ended after an hour and a half.
Post-attack resources and safe spaces for open and free dialogue are incredibly necessary and, as such, are appreciated. However, a lack of programming, services, and trainings to prevent attacks is evident at our UC institution.
We understand that as head of UC Santa Cruz, Chancellor Blumenthal is very busy. However, the lack of any response on his part in regards to the Kresge Hate Crime in person or otherwise epitomized the lack of action from the UC Santa Cruz administration as a whole.
Meanwhile, there are trans students afraid to use the restroom because they fear being attacked. There are queer students afraid to go home to their dorm rooms because they fear their queer-phobic roommates. These are two of a multitude of experiences people from the queer, trans, and gender non-conforming community at UC Santa Cruz and beyond live with. It is our reality and with each breath we endure it. Administrative action is necessary and desperately needed.
According to section 20.00 of University of California Policy on Discrimination, the “University is committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices.” We demand that Chancellor Blumenthal uphold this policy and enact motions to prevent future discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
University of California, specifically UC Santa Cruz, as a federally funded institution, must abide by the United States Title IX principal objective for avoiding “the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices.” (The United States Department of Justice)
On this day of February 25th, 2015, we, the Queer, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Ally, People of Color, and all other marginalized people of the University of California Santa Cruz do not believe our university for learning and growth has provided the necessary actions for preventing and ensuring our protection against queer-phobic, trans-phobic, and gender non-conforming-phobic practices. We believe that individual colleges (i.e. Porter College, Kresge College, etc.) and individual retention and university services (i.e. Cantu Queer Center, Ethnic Resource Center, CAPS, SHOP, etc.) are doing what they are able to do with the resources they are allotted by university administration. However, it is not enough for providing a safe and comfortable place for learning and preventing hate-based violence. As such, we demand the following actions to take place immediately.
We, the Queer, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Ally, People of Color, and all other marginalized people of the University of California Santa Cruz, as paying customers of the University of California Corporation, and, as such, appropriate recipients of UC Policy and Title IX legislation, demand the immediate implementation and enforcement of the following actions by Chancellor Blumenthal and his administration:
1) We demand immediate implementation of multi-stall all-gender restrooms within short walking distance of all classrooms, dining halls, and offices. The current single stall restrooms are inadequate and segregating.
2) We demand for the immediate creation, implementation and enforcement of free self defense workshops/classes available university wide for all students. We demand for these workshops/classes to be safe and accessible for all students.
3) We demand for the immediate creation, implementation and enforcement of mandatory university wide trainings/workshops to educate about queer, trans, and gender non-conforming life, existence, terminology, and issues to UC Santa Cruz current and future employees including Residential Assistants, current and future administrators, faculty, staff, and students. This will be best implemented via in person and/or online orientation seminars similar to the mandatory freshman and transfer seminars (i.e. Alcohol Edu and SAFE Slugs, etc.).
4) We demand for the immediate creation and hire of multiple UC Santa Cruz Queer-Specialist Professional staff members, at least one of them being a Trans-Specialist, to focus on the implementation and enforcement of the above mentioned demands. Currently, having one queer advocate for 17,000+ students is not enough to provide adequate trainings across campus. We understand that it is difficult to know how to address and advocate for certain issues if one does not identify with them. Thus, we believe that the creation of these new positions will provide the appropriate avenues for the improvement of the climate for trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people at UC Santa Cruz. We demand student oversight during the hiring process.
Without university action, students, staff, and faculty on this campus will continue to be subjected to these types of violence. Our demands above are a starting point in creating a safe climate on campus for all to thrive.
The actions that we, as students, take in organizing are in response to the inaction and inadequacy of the university administration. We stand in solidarity with the right to organize and protest as by the 96 Hours Of Action on March 2-5th, 2015.
We thank you for your time and hope that as students of the University of California, our needs and plea for help is heard and immediately and properly addressed. Together, we will make the UC Santa Cruz community safer and friendlier for the Queer, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Ally, People of Color, and all other marginalized people.
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