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Monday, May 27, 2024

Campus climate dialogue discusses hate, bias on campus

On Feb. 13, the UC Davis Center for Student Involvement held Campus Climate Dialogue: Reporting Hate and Bias on Campus in the Student Community Center multipurpose room. Sheri Atkinson, executive director of the Campus Resource Centers, and Milton Lang, Associate Vice Chancellor, hosted the event.

According to the UC Davis Student Judicial Affairs (SJA) website, a hate or bias crime incident is any non-criminal conduct that is motivated by hatred or bigotry and directed at an individual, residence or other group. A hate or bias crime is a criminal act that results in injury, whether physical or verbal. The reporting procedure allows victims and witnesses of incidents or crimes to let administration know that it happened.

Atkinson said that the dialogue was a follow-up to a meeting with Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and a small group of students regarding hate and bias-related incidents on campus on Dec. 9.

“The meeting will provide specific protocol for reporting hate and bias and will help people make a report,” Atkinson said. “We’re also hoping to get feedback in order to make the procedure student-friendly.”

Lang said the point of the meeting was to help students and staff gain a better understanding of the protocol to report instances of abuse. Lang said that similar incidences have been reported at UC Davis have also been reported at UCs and other college campuses.

“These issues are not isolated to UC Davis,” Lang said. “But what happens here and how we treat one another is our responsibility.”

The system for reporting crimes was updated after winter break ended. Staff members at the dialogue explained the renewed steps to report incidents and crimes, and allowed students in the audience to ask questions and give feedback on the system.

Director of SJA, Donald Dudley, went through the necessary steps to file a report. All reports go to and are reviewed by SJA, Dudley said.

“SJA is concerned with both the rights and concerns for students,” Dudley said.

The process to report an incident of hate or bias is done completely online from the SJA website. Students can provide a description of the incident and also have the option to say how they would like the University to respond.

“It was only last year that we transitioned in a system where we could receive complaints on the web,” Dudley said.

Dudley said that SJA receives 50 to 60 reports a year, and most regard issues with grading or roommate complaints.

According to Dudley, the University will make anonymous reporting of incidents possible, and that it will take as much action as possible and conduct an investigation with the given information. However, he said that the University will be able to take further action if the reporter is identified.

“If you choose to identify yourself, you will receive acknowledgement, an email and will be invited to talk about the incident in person,” Dudley said.

Another part of the updated system is a new marketing campaign geared towards spreading awareness on campus of how to file reports. During the event, students and members of  the audience were invited to comment on the marketing strategies and say what things they liked best and what they thought needed work.

“We’re trying to connect students with the resources available to them,” said Nefretiri Cooley-Broughton, director of Student Affairs Marketing and Communications.

Directors of many of the Campus Resource Centers were present at the meeting. These centers included the Center for Student Involvement, the Women’s Resources and Research Center, the Student Recruitment and Retention Center, Campus Community Advocacy Center, Student Judicial Affairs and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). The resource centers were offered as places for students to go when they experience or witness physical or verbal abuse, along with reporting the experience through the system.

CAPS was listed as one of the places where students can go to receive confidentiality regarding their report.

“We can offer confidentiality and provide you with a social justice lens that is really about empowering you,” said Natacha Foo Kune, CAPS director of training.

Students asked questions regarding training on hate and bias for faculty and staff. There are currently several training programs and classes regarding cultural sensitivity and community exploration for faculty and staff. The programs have been available since 1995. New faculty and staff at UC Davis are required to take these training courses.

Rahim Reed, Associate Executive Vice Chancellor, said that recruitment for staff and faculty is based heavily on the applicants’ previous experience with cultural awareness and diversity.

“We quite frankly want people who have already had exposure with diverse communities,” Reed said. “We’re looking to recruit that kind of person.”

A public data system showing which faculty members have taken courses and which haven’t is being worked on and should be available fall 2014.

“We’re in a process of creating diversity profile projects for each of the 23 units that make up UC Davis,” Reed said. “It will show faculty staff and give information about who took the training and who didn’t take the training.”

Atkinson said a follow-up to this event and further campus climate dialogues will be held in the future. Specific dates have not been set.


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