UC Davis Stands Against Hate

I want to share this video released today by Chancellor Gary S. May addressing the scheduled student group-hosted appearance by Charlie Kirk. In the video, Chancellor May reaffirms that “UC Davis stands with our transgender and non-binary Aggies in opposition to this hateful and divisive messaging.”

Earlier today, I sent a message to the King Hall community that reads, in part:

“(Charlie Kirk) holds views wholly inconsistent with those embraced by our community, as well as with the UC Davis Principles of Community.  The hurt caused by such hate damages our community. … We embrace our students who are transgender and gender non-conforming.  We support their right to a safe educational environment.  We actively recruit these students, work to support them while they are in law school and beyond, and celebrate them as they continue on their path to successful legal careers.  We, of course, have work to do to improve our support for students of all gender identities.  But we remain dedicated and committed to making that a paramount goal.”

I also shared a email with resources and suggestions from campus offices that had been forwarded by Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Emily Scivoletto, who noted that King Hall students also could reach out to her, Director of Diversity and Student Life Alexis Elston or Dr. Margaret S. Lee. That email:

“Dear Community,

We have received questions and heard concerns from students about the March 14 event organized by the registered student organization Turning Point USA (TPUSA) at UC Davis, and featuring Charlie Kirk, TPUSA’s founder. Members of our communities are distressed that a student organization is hosting a speaker who is a well-documented proponent of misinformation and hate toward marginalized people, and who has recently called for violence against transgender individuals

We understand how frightening, harmful and destructive this rhetoric can be. Words DO matter, and hateful speech adversely impacts our collective sense of humanity and respect. It also contributes to the increase in “othering” and the targeted violence we are seeing across our country against many systematically marginalized communities. Some groups intentionally provoke and incite confrontations to fuel their social media channels and harmful narratives. 

We share your frustration with this abhorrent speech having a platform on our campus. However, there is power in knowing that the same protections afforded to the speech we denounce also gives us the right to amplify our message of love and solidarity and voice the lived experience of our communities. 

Before You Engage: Things to Consider

We know that many of you are experiencing a range of emotions and may be unsure how you would like to engage (or not) with this issue. We hope that the considerations and resources below are helpful. 

  • It’s ok not to engage at all. The quarter’s last week of instruction can be a stressful time for students, and it’s ok to focus on your studies and self-care
  • Consider attending an alternative event or protest away from the location of the campus event. The Davis Phoenix Coalition is hosting an alternative event on March 14 at 4:30 pm. 
    • Choosing alternatives and not engaging with the speaker can be a form of protest as well, and there is collective power in choosing to engage with our communities instead. 
    • Protests can be unpredictable. At the TPUSA at UC Davis event on campus in October, protest and counter-protest groups engaged in violence. 
  • If you choose to protest at the event location, please review the “How to Protest Safely” tips provided by the Health Education and Promotion team at Student Health and Counseling Services.
  • If you are motivated to help drive change and empower our communities, seek opportunities to get involved with organizations that advocate for progress. 
  • Visit the Student Expression website, which offers more education about the First Amendment and support resources available for students

We Are Here To Support You

Our centers and staff are here to provide welcoming and safe spaces. We stand with and offer our support to any student targeted by this hateful and divisive rhetoric. The compassion, love and care that we offer to one another is an important way to neutralize hate. If you are seeking crisis or counseling resources, please visit the Aggie Mental Health website

In Solidarity,

AB540 and Undocumented Student Center

Center for Student Involvement

Cross Cultural Center

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center

Middle Eastern North African and South Asian Student Resources

Student Recruitment and Retention Center

Women's Resources and Research Center.”

Finally, I received a thoughtful and helpful email today from Renetta Garrison Tull, Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, with welcoming and affirming messages that can be shared:

You Belong Here: https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull/status/1635673535921410048

Website: https://diversity.ucdavis.edu/dei-resources

Hate-Free Together: https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull/status/1635410855885156352, also on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7041184429251186690/

Website: https://leadership.ucdavis.edu/hate-free-together 

Improving OUTcomes: https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull/status/1635410703061487617

Website: https://health.ucdavis.edu/diversity-inclusion/improving-outcomes-conference/index.html