An Open Letter From the Department of English Faculty

 

Regarding the white supremacist posters placed on several campus buildings on November 14:  the messages these fliers convey and the media they cite directly assault the values underlying our campus community. They represent both epistemic violence and an implicit threat of physical violence against students, faculty, and staff of color and those who incorporate anti-racism in their course material.

 

We, the undersigned, therefore write to express our outrage at this overt threat to people of color and professors who work to dismantle racism in their classrooms.  Such acts of hate contribute to the increasingly hostile environment experienced by Muslims, the undocumented, Jews, LGBTQIA people, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Mexicans and Latinos/as, immigrants, women, sexual assault victims, and people with disabilities in the wake of the recent presidential election. We stand to protect this campus from such threats. Our stance recognizes the need for a statement and collective commitment beyond that previously offered by the Chancellor in order to recognize the particular threats of our current political climate.

 

The upper administration has responded to the November 14 incident by providing a resource to our community for reporting acts of hate speech, intimidation, violence, and harassment. We additionally call upon them to acknowledge the severity of these acts of hateful speech, which are disturbing not for their breach of campus policy but rather as an assault upon vulnerable members of the campus community.

 

We recognize that academic freedoms can be enjoyed only when people are free. We recognize further that this must begin with those most vulnerable, and thus that academic freedoms will be won and preserved through principled and unwavering support of those most exposed to threat. Therefore we call for the University of California Davis to designate itself a sanctuary campus committed to the protection of all at-risk communities against persecution and legal sanction based on status of citizenship, race, gender, and sexuality. We ask the university to refuse all voluntary information sharing with ICE (U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) as well as any local law enforcement acting in concert with or on behalf of these organizations.

 

In a historic moment that has seen racism, xenophobia, misogyny, nativism, trans*phobia and other forms of violent disrespect on prominent display, we are compelled to stand ever more resolutely on the side of threatened communities and to reject the politics of bigotry and hate.