Written by David Greenwald Sunday, 28 February 2010 07:26
The University is investigating two recent incidents as hate crimes. The Unversity confirmed on Friday that authorities are investigating a swastika carved into the door of a Jewish student's dorm room as a hate crime.
An incident where vandalism was discovered on the campus building that houses the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center will also be investigated as a hate crime.
She told News 10:
"I was scared when I saw it and confused. We all really like each other in the dorm. I don't know who would do it. It's totally unacceptable. It's no accident that it was at eye level on the door...not written on it, carved."On Friday, Chancellor Katehi sent out a letter to faculty and students calling the recent acts of intolerance "reprehensible" and "inexcusable."
"Many of you are already aware of a series of distressing acts that have taken place on our campus and throughout the UC system in recent weeks, behavior that in at least one instance is likely criminal and in all cases reprehensible, inexcusable and an affront to our own campus’s Principles of Community.In her letter she also reference another incident, called the "Compton Cookout" that occurred on the UC San Diego campus. Invitations to the event encouraged participants to mock Black History Month by promoting negative and offensive racial and gender stereotypes.
Earlier this week, UC Davis campus police reported that one of our Jewish students found a swastika carved into the door of her residence hall room, an act of thoughtless vandalism that is being investigated as a hate crime."
Ms. Katehi wrote:
"This sort of behavior cannot and should not be tolerated, on our campus or anywhere else. It should be condemned by all members of our campus and university community. We cannot ignore deliberate acts that demean and threaten others based on race, ethnicity, gender, national origin or any personal characteristics."She continued:
"When we see and hear such abhorrent language and behavior that is connected to current or historical acts of violence, hatred or abuse, our sense of community and shared respect is damaged.
It’s hard to feel welcome or safe in a community where such language and behavior is considered acceptable or tolerated.
Building an academic community requires a careful balance of the rights and needs of many that are sometimes in conflict. But acts of free speech or freedom of expression are not protected when they prohibit or suppress the speech of others. Our campuses are special places for the pursuit of knowledge and exchange of ideas, views and differing opinions.
It is critical that all members of our campus community conduct themselves with civility and respect for the dignity inherent in every member of our community."
The LGBT resource Center Staff sent out a letter on Friday night decrying an act of vandalism on their facility on the UC Davis campus.
"On the night of February 26th the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center experienced acts of vandalism. The entrance to the LGBTRC was defaced with derogatory and hateful words that target the Queer community.Meanwhile Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Saturday that he is deeply troubled by recent acts of racism on three separate UC campuses.
This vicious hate crime demonstrates the need for community centers like ours to exist in order to offer a safe space on campus and combat the homophobia, discrimination, and hate that is still prevalent within our society.
As a center we wanted not to immediately remove the vandalism in order to ensure that this hate crime does not go unnoticed by the campus community. Facilities and administration offered to clean it up immediately but we wanted to take this opportunity to educate the campus about struggles that our community continues to face. We feel it is easier to erase physical representations of violence than to heal from the ongoing impacts of this hatred. Erasing it makes it possible to avoid believing these things happen on our campus. We want to work towards a healing resolution."
The Governor issued a statement saying:
“I am deeply troubled by the horrific incidents that recently took place on various campuses of the University of California system. The acts of racism and intolerance that we have witnessed are completely unacceptable and I join with the University of California President, Chancellors and student leaders in condemning these terrible incidents. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior in our system of higher education or anywhere else and it will not be tolerated.”With two apparent hate crimes at UC Davis, some officials have expressed growing concern.
UC Davis law professor Dan Simmons told the Sacramento Bee on Saturday:
"I'm deeply frightened by the way all this is snowballing on our campuses."Are these simply isolated incidents or is there a possibility that the current economic and fiscal climate is producing either more strain on racial and other forms of tolerance? This is an issue officials will have to grapple with in the near term.
---David M. Greenwald reporting
I am against hate crime laws because of stories like this. Racism, discrimination and bias based on gender/religious/sexual orientation are all problems rooted in human ignorance. Unless violent and/or resulting in physical harm, using hate crime laws to prosecute the ignorant manifests as just another form of hateful retribution. It is indicative of a disturbing unbalance of social power provided the “victims” class to allow them to gain their pound of flesh for all eternity of more heinous crimes. I think it perpetuates the very thing it purports to eliminate. It creates a greater sense of class separation and entitlement that feeds the flames of discontent. These crimes were simply vandalism and property damage.
If we are going to continue to allow our legal and judicial system to subjectively objectify the concept of non-violent hate, then there are quite a few liberals and progressives owed a visit from the police for their stated views of white conservative Christians and CEOs.
I agree with Mr. Boone. Hate crimes are enforced against some people and not others. For example, the local police are accused of hate crimes for their enforcement of traffic laws while other people who have no minority civil rights status have similar complaints and there is no Davis Vanguard coverage of their problems. They just suffer and lose their homes and businesses. We could make a case for this racial, minority based advocacy being classified as a hate crime.
I also agree with Jeff, but only up to a point. If someone were to spray paint my house with graffiti, it would be vandalism. But if they sprayed the words "Die Jew Lover!" That sould be considered hate. Violent or not, the crime would be motivated by racial hate. Now my example is extreme, but think of one of the most horiffic acts of racism in history and what it's symbol is. Carving that on ones door is hate. But is it not also harassment. A crime we already have punishment for. Non violent hate crimes are a form of harassment and should be punished as such, not specialized because of racial or religous motivation.
Still, all CEO's should be locked up and the key thrown away.
"The UC San Diego student reportedly responsible for hanging a noose last week in a campus library issued a public, but anonymous, apology Monday and said she had no racist motivation.
The noose's discovery set off protests at a school that is already tense from recent racially charged episodes and triggered condemnations from UC leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."