Nearly 30 students marched to Mrak Hall yesterday in protest of the discriminatory acts present on the UC Davis campus.
The protest was met with news from UC Davis police that three swastikas had been found spray painted on campus – one on the centennial circle in the quad, one on the Social Sciences and Humanities building and one on the UC Davis sign facing A Street. Police removed the graffiti immediately after they received word of its presence.
“This is ridiculous,” said Osahon Ekhator, ASUCD senator present at the protest. “It’s 2010 in the University of California system and there’s still so much intolerance and inaction.”
The protest started at 11:30 a.m. in front of the MU, where students gathered around student Mohamed Buzayan as he called out to UC Davis students through a megaphone asking that they stand in solidarity with those affected by the recent incidents of hate crimes on UC campuses, including the swastikas on campus and the derogatory graffiti on the LGBT Resource Center.
“Join us as we march against discrimination and hate,” said Buzayan, a sophomore civil engineering major. “Don’t wait until you become the next victim.”
Davis City Councilmember Don Saylor was present at the protest and voiced his support and admiration for students present.
Students then marched to Mrak Hall, where a list of demands was produced and sent to Chancellor Linda Katehi. The demands were similar to those made by the Black Student Union at UCSD, but more targeted toward all minorities in the community, Buzayan said. He added that a constructive step administrators could take would be to communicate more with minority students.
Although the turnout for the protest was relatively low, organizers were pleased with the intentions of those who showed up.
“We just want people who care out here,” Buzayan said. “It doesn’t matter if there’s 1,000 or just one.”
Some students at the rally in Mrak held signs saying “Stand with the 11 in solidarity,” referencing the 11 UC students arrested at UC Irvine during the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.’s speech last week.
These students believed the arrests should be included in the string of recent hate crimes. They said action was taken unfairly and deliberately against these students.
“They were just speaking out politically, they didn’t threaten anyone and they left peacefully,” said Farah Refai, a first first-year student present at the protest yesterday. “Other students aren’t punished when they do things like that.”
In the UC Davis students’ list of demands, the last demand addressed this concern.
“We demand that the UC system disciplines the UCI 11 in a manner that is fair and just with school code so that they will not strike fear into students who wish to voice opinion,” the list read.
The UC students were cited with disrupting a public event, according to a UC Irvine spokesperson.
After the protest ended at approximately 12:30 p.m., students dispersed, some expressed their concern for the hate crimes on KDVS.
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The swastikas sound more like commentary on the University itself than attacking any minorities. The swastika on the Davis sign backs this up: the protester/pranksters who did this were calling the University leadership nazis, because of their nazi-like policies concerning the stifling of free speech that doesn’t praise the Zionist cause. People should be upset at their Nazi University, not at the people who are screaming that the emporer wears no clothes.
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