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Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Hate crimes target UC Davis students

Last week, two reportedly unrelated hate crimes shook the UC Davis community, echoing the recent racial turbulence within the University of California as a whole.

A swastika was carved onto the door of a Jewish student in the Tercero dormitories on Feb. 19. A week later, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center was the target of an attack when derogatory terms were spray-painted on the center’s front entrance, said Lt. Matthew Carmichael of the UC Davis Police Department.

The attacks add to the growing number of hate crimes recently experienced in the University of California system. Several weeks ago, members of a UC San Diego fraternity held a “Compton Cookout”-themed barbeque mocking Black History Month, and a noose was later found hanging in the campus library. At UC Irvine, a group of students attempted to disrupt the speech of the Israeli ambassador to the United States in early February. Many students consider the arrests to be associated with the recent controversy.

The acts gained widespread attention, prompting reaction from both UC and state authorities.

“I am deeply troubled by the horrific incidents that recently took place on various campuses of the University of California system,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Saturday press release.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi also condemned the acts in a letter released to the UC Davis community.

“We cannot ignore deliberate acts that demean and threaten others based on race, ethnicity, gender, national origin or any personal characteristics,” she said.

Carmichael echoed this concern, commenting on the alarming proximity of the two crimes at UC Davis.

“Every once in a while, graffiti will show up on campus, but it’s not a common occurrence for us,” he said.

No witnesses reported seeing the two inch swastika being carved into the wooden door in Tercero, and residents could not point to any obvious suspects.

“The victim doesn’t have any idea who might have done this,” Carmichael said. “She says everyone on the floor gets along really well.”

Meanwhile, the LGBTRC did not remove the vandalism immediately following the crime in an attempt to raise community awareness about the hatred present on campus, waiting until Monday night to paint over the graffiti.

“We feel it is easier to erase physical representations of violence than to heal from the ongoing impacts of this hatred,” said LGBTRC staff members in a letter to the community. “Erasing it makes it possible to avoid believing these things happen on our campus. We want to work towards a healing resolution.”

LGBTRC community intern Mark Yanez, a senior women and gender studies and sociology double major, said the attack on his home campus and workspace was traumatic, but not unprecedented.

“In my mind, someone saying ‘that’s so gay’ is the equivalent of this happening to the center,” he said. “[The vandalism] is a physical manifestation of homophobia on our campus.”

Leaders of the LGBTRC held an anti-hate rally yesterday in front of the Memorial Union at noon. Approximately 50 people attended. The rally was followed by a small march through campus.

A town hall meeting also took place Monday night in the ARC Ballroom, during which community leaders discussed possible reactions and plans to deal with the vandalism.

Though police are following several leads in both cases, they have yet to identify suspects. Anyone with information about these crimes is encouraged to contact the UC Davis Police Department at 752-1727.

MEGAN MURPHY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


  1. Let’s not forget that these refugees of which you speak who you claim willingly left their homes when the Israeli state was being established were in fact fleeing for their safety. Look up the methods of the establishment of Israelis. Look up the Massacre of 1947. The 20% Arab population that Israel boasts is comprised of those brave or perhaps naive (thinking the fighting would not last) people who stayed despite massacre. Let’s not forget that Arabs who fled are not let back in (except for some who show proof of having close family that stayed in Israel — I believe the restrictions have increased tremendously in this regard, if re-entry is even permitted for any one anymore.) It doesn’t bother you that Israel only accepts Jewish (I am including descendants of Jews in this definition) as immigrants? This makes it very convenient to use accused racism as a shield to any criticism (of which it receives plenty from around the world). Let’s not forget that Jewish people are in fact allowed back into the places from which they fled in WWII. Let’s not pretend that it is dangerous to live there still. Should all former slaves immigrate to Africa, kick out residents with a massacre, and establish their own state because they were victims of egregious human rights violations for centuries in the US? What about the Native Americans and the indigenous people of Latin America? Should we carve out another place in the Middle East where Arabs are already living for them to have their own state free from persecution? Hm..

  2. And even if you believe that all anti-Semites are anti-Zionist, how is that belief relevant to true and honest discussion of Israeli policies? By labeling opponents as racist, you are choosing to close your ears and refusing productive dialog.

  3. I would disagree that all anti-Semites are anti-Zionist. Evangelical Christians are some of the biggest proponents of Zionism. Why do they encourage Zionism? Because, according to their beliefs, the Jews will fight for them in the Apocalypse in Jerusalem. Then they will be sent to Hell, while the “saved” Chrisitans ascend to Heaven. That’s not anti-Semitic?

  4. I do believe that people who spread hate, ignorance, and discrimination should be viewed as being on the same level as potatoes.

  5. ArabMuslim, I apologize for the misspelling, English is not my native script. I hope you were still able to understand what I meant to say. First of all, the Israelites and the current citizens of Israel are not one and the same. You know this, and to bring up a completely irrelevant point based only on the argument that two words are similar (Israel and Israelite) is not conducive to a discussion. And no, if Jewish students were to protest the speech of a Palestinian politician, I would not attack them name-calling and attempt to obfuscate the issue. I would disagree with their political views, but would not accuse them of being anti-Arabic unless they actually attacked the state of being of Arabic descent.

  6. It is rather common for “anti-zionist” behavior to be fraile camoflage for classic Jew hating, anti-semtism. Natan Sharansky summarized the difference nicely in the “Three Ds”, “Double standards, demonization and de-legitimization.” Simply, if you are oppsoed to the existance of the state of Israel for the reason that it is a Jewish state, assess Israel’s behavior by a double standard or simply demonize Israel as “evil”, then its no longer a political protest. For example,harshly condemning Israel’s military response to years of Hamas rockets and mortar fire as “disproportionate force” and a “war crime”, while remaining silent and excusing the actions in Sri Lanka. Or asserting that only the grand children of Palestinians are “refugees” because they left the future Jewish state of Israel, while never considering the grand children of any other refugee population as “refugees” because they left countries that weren’t Jewish states or calling only the Israeli use of white phosphus illumination shells a “war crime” and never even considering that all modern armies use white phosperous illumination shells for night combat etc,etc. Perhaps all anti-zionists aren’t anti-semites, but certainly all anti-semites are anti-zionist.

  7. Dear Megan and Aggie staff,

    I don’t know what the “Irvine 11” exactly did, but just disrupting the speech of a political figure visiting campus is certainly not a hate crime. If they were shouting anti-semitic slurs, sure. But if it’s just a protest against the Israeli occupation and alleged war crimes it’s not a hate crime.

    No matter what exactly happened at Irvine, by including it in the list of other obviously racist incidents you have labeled it a hate crime as well (and no, the last sentence in the paragraph is not a disclaimer).

    Given the information in your article, it seems as if the Aggie thinks that a simple act of protest, maybe with some civil disobedience or a little trespassing or whatever, is a “hate crime”. It was maybe impolite, but then again so was the use of white phosphorus.


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