Chancellor Block shared the following message with the campus community condemning incidents of bigotry, intolerance and intimidation that have taken place on UC campuses, including UCLA, over the past several weeks.
Dear Bruin Community:
Periods of conflict in the Middle East have time and again been linked to a global rise in reprehensible acts of Antisemitism, Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate. I am extremely disheartened to say that this has proven true once again, and the UCLA campus has by no means been spared.
Today, I joined University of California President Michael V. Drake and the UC chancellors in issuing a forceful condemnation of incidents of bigotry, intolerance and intimidation that have taken place on UC campuses — including UCLA — over the past several weeks. We must be crystal clear: discrimination, threats, violence and hate have absolutely no place in a university community dedicated to open-mindedness, respect and mutual understanding. Our full message appears below.
More than denounce bigotry, though, we must also actively work against it. President Drake will be sharing a series of systemwide initiatives in the coming weeks to address the current university climate, and my administration will be launching its own set of efforts to strengthen community and reaffirm our values in this period of intense strife.
I recognize that this work is urgently needed. At an event just this week on our campus, individuals exhibited extremely hateful behavior and used despicable Antisemitic language, which was captured on video and shared widely, frightening many within our community. While this may be protected speech under the First Amendment, it is nonetheless abhorrent and completely unacceptable. Campus officials are reviewing the actions at the event and anyone found to be in violation of the law or the UCLA code of conduct will be held accountable.
In our diverse university community, even if we disagree with someone passionately, we cannot devolve into dehumanizing them with rhetoric, treating them with prejudice or jeopardizing their safety. We must find the best in ourselves and in one another. Let us work towards better days ahead.
Gene D. Block
University of California President Michael V. Drake and the 10 University of California chancellors sent the following message today (Friday, Nov. 10, 2023) to members of the UC community:
To the University of California community,
We write today to condemn the alarming, profoundly disappointing acts of bigotry, intolerance, and intimidation we have seen on our campuses over these past several weeks. It is our shared responsibility to maintain a sense of community where everyone feels safe and welcome.
Some of the rhetoric we have seen and heard over the past month at campus protests, online, in student government meetings, and in classrooms has been shocking and abhorrent. Let us be clear: There is no place for hate, bigotry, or intimidation at the University of California. Period.
Antisemitism is antithetical to our values and our campus codes of conduct and is unacceptable under our principles of community. It will not be tolerated.
Similarly, Islamophobia is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We will work to ensure that those who advocate on behalf of Palestinians can also be confident of their physical safety on our campuses.
It is our collective responsibility to foster a safe and welcoming learning, living, and working environment while also promoting the principles of free expression and academic freedom. We take our obligation to uphold the First Amendment seriously, even when the viewpoints expressed are hateful or repugnant. We cannot censor voices or ban groups we disagree with, so long as those voices and groups comply with state and federal laws and with university policy.
But free speech is not absolute, and violations of policy or law will have consequences. Regents Policy 4403: Statement of Principles Against Intolerance calls on UC leaders “actively to challenge anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination when and whenever they emerge within the University community.” We will uphold this policy. Our campuses have and will continue to impose consequences on behavior that crosses the line into unprotected speech, such as persistent harassment of individuals or groups, or credible threats of physical violence. We will also take steps against any violations of the law or university policy such as disruptions of university activity, violence, or vandalism. Our educators must continue to provide a supportive and welcoming environment for all students and avoid using classroom time for improper political indoctrination.
And while words matter a great deal — and we stand firmly by the words we share today — this is also a time for action. Over the coming days, President Drake will announce a series of initiatives to help us address the current climate on our campuses, provide additional support for our students, staff, and faculty, and improve the public discourse on this issue.
Members of the UC community may have differing opinions on the Middle East conflict, but our stand on intolerance and intimidation in our own community is unequivocal: We will not stand for it, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that the University of California is a safe community for all.
Michael V. Drake, M.D.
President, University of California
Gene D. Block
Chancellor, UC Berkeley
Chancellor, UC Irvine
Chancellor, UC San Diego
Chancellor, UC Santa Cruz
Chancellor, UC Davis
Juan Sánchez Muñoz
Chancellor, UC Merced
Chancellor, UC Riverside
Chancellor, UC Santa Barbara