This story is from UCLA Today, a discontinued print and web publication.



Incidents of hate crimes at UCLA in recent days stand as vivid examples of how the  actions of a few can strike deeply into the heart of an entire campus community. They are troubling reminders that hatred and intolerance have a negative impact on the life of an institution that places high value on diversity of  race, ethnicity and gender.

All of us — students, administrators, faculty and staff — must demonstrate loudly and unequivocally that UCLA has zero tolerance for these despicable acts. We  must not allow the direct or symbolic actions of those who seek to undermine our core human values on campus to go without condemnation.

The UCLA Police Department regards hate crimes as one of  its highest enforcement priorities. The recent assault and vandalisms at Campbell Hall and Kerckhoff Hall, respectively, are being investigated as serious felonies. Everyone on campus should know that a special deployment of  officers is investigating these crimes and providing an extra measure of security and vigilance on campus.

We must consider our investigation of these incidents to be a starting point for  seeking ways to prevent hate crimes in the university community. A first step in ensuring that hate crimes do not take a foothold at UCLA is to realize that victims generally underreport these crimes. We must reverse that  trend. The five hate crimes reported at UCLA in 1999 were five too many. This year's incidents point out the need for every member of the campus community to report this type of activity promptly, even if one is not sure that the  incident is motivated by hatred.

My discussions with students and others at UCLA convince me that a sustained campus dialogue will prove to be a powerful weapon in fighting these insidious  crimes.

In the coming days and weeks, I encourage students, staff and faculty to engage in thoughtful discussion about the root causes of this intolerant behavior.

  Sadly, as one of society's microcosms, UCLA remains vulnerable to these incidents as long as hatred exists in our world. As Chancellor of UCLA, I want to use the influence of my office to promote greater  understanding and appreciation of our differences. In the face of such recent deplorable acts, I believe that we must take the opportunity to look once again at ourselves; to appreciate that our differences are a valuable asset;  and to respect and protect the rights of every member of the UCLA family.

Albert Carnesale is chancellor of UCLA.

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