White supremacy packages were reported on campus — at Merrill College, College Nine/Ten, McHenry library and the KZSC radio station — as well as throughout the city of Santa Cruz on Sept. 28 and 29.
“What we are trying to understand is the purpose behind these packages,” said UC Santa Cruz Police Chief Nader Oweis. “That’s why we are trying to identify the individuals.”
Oweis released a public email on Sept. 29, with the image of a white male suspect wearing black clothing and orange framed sunglasses, seeking any public help and information.
Oweis said there is still currently a lot unknown about the packages, but they are not related to the anti-Semitic fliers printed over the summer — which was an attack on all publicly accessible printers in North America.
All the packages reported were similar in nature and contained CDs or DVDs with images and words advocating white supremacy, and a link to a website for white supremacists. The UCSC Police Department (UCSC PD) believes the packages are connected but is unsure if it is only one individual or a group.
The content of the packages appear to fall under free speech protections but could be a UC code violation, under Section 100013, which forbids the “intimidating, harassing or obstructing any university employee, student, or any other person.”
“To the best of our knowledge it is not a crime,” Oweis said. “Most likely it is a First Amendment issue […] At this point in time we are investigating it just as a bias-motivated incident unless additional information comes in.”
UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal addressed the issues in a public newsletter on Oct. 5 and also acknowledged the political rhetoric and discrimination taking place on campus against people of color.
“This campus protects both free speech and academic freedom, and yet we know the degrading effects of hate speech and hateful acts,” Blumenthal said in the email. “That’s why it behooves each of us to play a role in speaking up, ensuring that voices of tolerance, compassion and civility prevail.”