In today’s Ask Katehi column, I will answer a question posed to me by a community member:
In light of the University of Missouri events, how is UC Davis being proactive in addressing racial tensions and discrimination?
Progress in the fight against intolerance is undeniable, but hatred and prejudice are still too common in our nation and the world. From time to time, we see harmful incidents spill onto our otherwise peaceful and welcoming campus, reminding us that we cannot afford to be silent when indignities occur.
At UC Davis, we have been working hard to achieve and celebrate diversity, value our differences and learn from our debates. The well-being of our university community depends on all of us feeling free to speak and express ourselves. It depends on our willingness to listen deeply even during moments of intense disagreement. And it depends on all of us feeling safe.
We have been proactive by:
- Launching the UC system’s first Center for African Diaspora Student Success.
- We will soon open similar centers for Latino and Native American students.
- Working with Jewish and Muslim students and community leaders in an effort to improve outreach, engagement and understanding between faiths.
- Creating nurturing and inclusive spaces on campus for students through the:
- Enrolling the most diverse class of new students in campus history; 29 percent of incoming freshmen are from underrepresented backgrounds.
- Developing specific training programs for staff and students to focus on diversity and work-life integration, in addition to fighting workplace bullying and other abusive behavior.
We are committed to becoming a community that sees value in different backgrounds and cultures. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to stand up and speak out against acts of hatred and bigotry and to be sensitive to the feelings and values of others.
And perhaps most importantly, we must remember our work in this regard is never finished. It must be ongoing, always renewed and re-emphasized so we can thrive as a community that succeeds even though we have differences, instead of allowing those differences to divide us.
As always, you can email me your thoughts and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try my best to answer you in my Ask Katehi column.
Linda Katehi is the UC Davis Chancellor.