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Davis, California

Friday, April 12, 2024

Campus applies principles of community to recent hate crimes

Between the nearly 500 student clubs and organizations UC Davis is home to, it’s easy to forget that every student is a part of the greater campus community. The annual Principles of Community Week strives to remind students of this.

“It’s a way to make very visible and meaningful to campus, the Principles of Community, a statement of values and responsibilities,” said Janet Gong, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

The week of events comes at a significant time of campus activism in response to the acts of vandalism targeted at the LGBT and Jewish communities. Organizers cancelled one event so that more people would attend the LGBTRC’s town hall meeting, held Monday night to discuss the hate crimes.

Though unregulated officially, the UC Davis Principles of Community function as a broad and inclusive statement of expected behavior, and reinforce the university setting as an open and fair marketplace of ideas.

Now in its 20th year, Principles of Community Week has evolved into a showcase of ideals we all revere, Gong said.

“We used to reaffirm them [the Principles] on significant anniversaries; part of the notion of the week is that we now do this through active participation in programs,” she said.

Organized by the Office of Campus Community Relations, the five days highlight the diversity that UC Davis students experience daily. This week-long event was launched Monday at the Cross-Cultural Center, and will run through this Friday.

“Unpacking Privilege: Understanding Race, Gender, and Sexuality” was the first event of Principles of Community Week. Organizers invited students to become aware of how privilege contributes to prejudice within institutions, societies and individuals.

Today starts off with “Living the Principles of Community,” a demonstration of an on-line class about implementing the Principles in the Memorial Union East Conference room from noon to 1 pm.

Next on the docket is “Immigrants Tale,” a documentary project for students to share their own stories of immigration. The film will be shown in Wellman Hall from 5 to 11 p.m.

The night comes to a close “Sick Spits Open Mic Night,” which invites students to express themselves through music, dance, or spoken word from 7:30 to 10 p.m. in Griffin Lounge.

Student Assistant to the Chancellor Nina Massoumi, a senior international relations major, said Principles of Community Week serves to promote the diversity on campus.

“The week is to bring to light different events that further these ideals, but also call attention to things that do not represent them and discuss how we as a campus community can be held accountable for these things,” she said.

“That’s so BLEEP,” on Wednesday night in King Lounge from 7 to 9 p.m. aims to accomplish the week’s main goal, Massoumi said.

“Even though the Principles are not enforced, the idea is to respect people no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.,” Massoumi said.

The program will examine the roots of hate speech and try to discontinue its presence in 21st century language. By discussing the connection between hate speech and genocide, “That’s so BLEEP,” aims to unify and rebuild communities through words and actions.

MIKE DORSEY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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