Last week, Chancellor Linda Katehi announced a $230,000 annual investment to combat hate and intolerance on campus.
This investment is in direct response to the recent incidents of intolerance that plagued campus in March. The money will go toward the office of student affairs and the office of campus community relations.
“These are difficult financial times, to be sure, but I believe that these investments are critical to advancing our shared goal of a safer, more inclusive and hate-free environment,” Katehi said in her May 5 letter.
From the office of student affairs, $100,000 will be allocated annually to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center (LGBTRC) effective July 1. Katehi advised the LGBTRC, which was infamously vandalized in March, to use their funds for their highest priority needs.
“We plan to utilize a portion of the funds to hire an assistant director,” said Sheri Atkinson, director of the LGBTRC, in an e-mail interview. “We need more staff to meet the many needs of our community and to continue to educate the campus community.”
The principles of community, which Katehi said have been reaffirmed through a public resigning, state that the UC Davis campus must strive to build a true community of spirit and purpose based on mutual respect and caring.
“The recent allocation from Chancellor Katehi is a good step toward supporting the many needs of the LGBT community and enhancing campus climate for all,” Atkinson said.
Along with the LGBTRC, Katehi announced that the university will allocate $100,000 in ongoing funds to the Black Student Union. She explained that the money would help institutionalize mentorship programs that focus on underrepresented, underserved and marginalized students.
The incidents of hate, which appeared across multiple UC campuses, have shed new light on the discrimination still present, even at the university level.
“Expressions of hate, intolerance and incivility have no place in a university community that prides itself on educating the brightest minds of tomorrow and are inconsistent with the goals of our Principles of Community,” Katehi said. “Our campus is actively engaged in reaffirming our commitment to these principles in a number of ways to promote freedom of expression, confront acts of discrimination, appreciate our differences and build a more inclusive campus community.”
While the public hate crimes seemed to have stopped around the UC campuses, Atkinson stressed that this kind of bigotry still occurs daily to underrepresented groups on and around campus.
“The recent incident of blatant hate brought to light homophobia that LGBT people experience on a regular basis,” she said. “The LGBTRC works to provide support to the community and educate the campus to address hateful and discriminatory attitudes and actions.”
The LGBTRC and Black Student Union are two main groups that will benefit from Chancellor Katehi’s decision, but the chancellor is looking into other ways to promote tolerance. The extra $30,000 will be allocated to the Campus Council on Community and Diversity to fund events, training programs, students or other costs that will advance the goal of a hate-free campus.
“I’m happy to see our campus taking action to combat hate and intolerance,” said Natalia Lopez-Montero, a senior political science major. “It’s just too bad that it took high-profile acts of vandalism and a swarm of media coverage to prompt the university to invest in such important organizations.”
ANDY VERDEROSA can be reached at email@example.com.