Dear Chancellor Blumenthal and Executive Vice Chancellor Galloway,
We are writing to you regarding the recent events following the election results this past Tuesday. We represent student organizations on campus (see below) that have many members who are directly affected by the elections and its aftermath.
The day after the election the nation was in a state of shock and dismay by the results. Many students, staff, faculty, and community members woke up the next day ready to take action; some demonstrated their frustrations by attending rallies both on and off campus. Many of us, however, woke up with the inability to attend class or go to work because we felt too devastated, afraid, and distressed to engage a world where racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia is acceptable. Many of us, our friends, and family members face real and immediate dangers from those who feel that they have a license to act on these ideologies of hate. We write to you with two immediate solutions needed to support student retention and safety.
Many students feel scared, threatened, and distressed. Many have had to call or travel home to connect with family, make sure they’re okay, and find some kind of sanctuary amidst this turmoil. These experiences and priorities have prevented many from attending class, participating in midterms, and/or completing assignments during the week of this unprecedented election. The quarter system moves fast and often unforgiving in times of crisis. Missing class and assignments may result in their grades and/or academic standing suffering. We suggest the following accommodations:
- We ask that professors and lecturers be encouraged to be understanding and flexible with students, to provide them with the lecture notes for classes missed, and to support extensions on assignments that were due the week of the election.
- We also ask for an increase in support services and accommodations for students from the Disability Resource Center and Counseling And Psychological Services on campus, in particular counselors on and off campus who share the culture and experiences of the students most affected.
- We ask that there be an extension to the Fall Quarter withdraw deadline or to request an INC to assist those students most impacted by the election. This will support students from serious repercussions to their education by avoiding receiving Ds and Fs.
These actions would increase student retention by providing critical and responsive support to students most affected by racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. It would also be reassuring to us to know that that despite the current national climate, the resources and support from the university are there to help us succeed in our education.
Another concern we have is our safety. There have been instances of harassment and assaults around town, other campuses, and on the media against people of color and other minority groups. Students fear walking in the dark alone, and getting home at night can be dangerous. This is further emphasized through the hate crimes that have occurred throughout the nation, as well as cases of assault on this very campus. Such violent incidents against ABC students, POC, and other marginalized groups is not a new phenomenon here on this campus or in the city of Santa Cruz and this is the reason we feel it even more important for the university to respond in quick, careful, and proper fashion.
- For this we would like to see more reliable, and safe late-night transportation. For example, the Safety Escort Program that was implemented in winter and spring of 2014. This service helped students get from one part of campus to another part of campus from 8:30 p.m, to 12:15 a.m. An earlier start time would be helpful, given the darkness of many pathways at UCSC.
- As you know, there are more late night classes yet bus service in town has been reduced. This means that students are having to find their way home without sufficient transportation support. A Night Owl shuttle would provide important support for students trying to get home; perhaps to one or two central locations on the West and East side of the city.
We appreciate the time you have taken to read this letter and consider our suggestions. We truly feel that it is critical to take immediate action to support students in distress and to provide a safer environment.
We ask for rapid action on these requests because the issue with missed academic attendance or assignments and the heightened sense danger and the fear is immediate. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Muslim Student Association (MSA)
Student Environmental Center
Education for Sustainable Living Program
Campus Sustainability Council
Black Men’s Alliance (BMA)
Black Sistah’s United (BSU)
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
Afrikan Black Student Alliance (A/BSA)
African American Theatre Arts Troupe (AATAT)
City on a Hill Press (CHP)
Hmong Student Association (HSA)
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA)
Chican@s and Latin@s Educandose (ChALE)
Black Christian Ministries
Student Alliance of North American Indians (SANAI)
The Kadence Keys
Banana Slug News (BSN)
Engaging Education (E2)
Diversity in Games (DiG)
Leviathan Jewish Journal
APISA (Asian/Pacific Islander Student Alliance)
UA (Undocumented Alliance)
Third World and Native American Students Press Collective (TWANAS)
Disability Resource Center (DRC)
Rachel Carson Provost – Ronnie Lipshutz
Student Cable Television (SCTV) Council
On The Spot (OTS)
Cultural Arts and Diversity Board