Open Letter to the Students and Community
Posted on April 30, 2015
Dear Students, Community and Familia,
We are writing to you to express our enormous anger at the recurring incidents of racial harassment and discrimination towards the Chicana/o Latina/o community at UC Davis. Faculty, staff, and students are extremely distressed by the constant macro and micro aggressions that emerge across the institution. We see these acts as reminders of the severe under-representation of Chicana/o Latina/o faculty, staff, administrators, and students within the UC system; a stark juxtaposition to our community’s majority population in the state of California and an indication of the remaining legacy of California’s and the US’s racialized oppressive past. Ultimately, these racist aggressions and the hurtful aftermath become an extra tax on our department, an emotional, physical, and time-based tax that is not felt across the campus nor shared across all departments.
We are writing to voice our unconditional support to our Chicana/o and Latina/o students, staff and community at this time. As UC Davis moves towards becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, we seek meaningful institutional change that creates an educational community that protects, values, and structurally supports under-represented students, faculty, and staff.
Racist events across campus are often seen as isolated incidents. Yet, as indicated in a recent letter sent by students who have been hurt, marginalized, and alienated by the latest racist incident, these racist behaviors by members of different university’s organizations, sports teams, and individuals are part of a long history of racist acts that have not been repaired institutionally. Within the student’s recent letter (attached here as an addendum) a lack of safety and respect on the UC Davis campus is expressed. Faculty in Chicana/o Studies share these feelings of institutionalized racism, as we too carry the burden of seeking to persist within a campus community where micro and macro racist aggressions take place constantly. This is not an isolated incident but rather an issue that demands institutional change at a time when the state of California is facing dramatic transformation.
As the state of California continues to transform with an ever growing Chicana/o/Latina/o population and as UC Davis moves to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, we seek institutional change in every sector of the campus; the Academic Senate, the Classroom, Student-Life, and in meeting the mission of the Land-Grant institution to apply research and solutions to the State’s needs; the under-representation and risk factors facing the Chicana/o Latina/o community being a priority.
Moving forward the faculty and staff in Chicana/o Studies pledge that there will be one place on the UC Davis campus where we can guarantee everyone will be valued/respected/supported and that place is within our hallway and in the classrooms of our Department. The faculty and staff also pledge that we will work with all who seek to create meaningful transformation and to fulfill the mission of public higher education within the state of California.
For now, as always, we are at your service,
Carlos F. Jackson, Associate Professor & Chair, Chicana/o Studies
Angie Chabram, Professor, Chicana/o Studies
Yvette Flores, Professor, Chicana/o Studies
Sergio de la Mora, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies
Natalia Deeb-Sossa, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies
Maceo Montoya, Assistant Professor, Chicana/o Studies
Susy Zepeda, Assistant Professor, Chicana/o Studies
Clarissa Rojas, Assistant Professor, Chicana/o Studies
Alyssa West, Program Coordinator, Chicana/o Studies
Alma Martinez, Student Affairs Officer, Chicana/o Studies