Message to All Residents: Bias Incidents at Crown and Merrill
Dear members of the Crown and Merrill communities,
On Wednesday 9/28/2016 and Thursday 9/29/2016, multiple Crown and Merrill staff members found DVDs left by an unknown person or persons in public spaces on the college grounds. The DVD envelopes included a link to The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist website featuring articles denigrating to Jewish people, people of color, and other cultural identity groups. Similar DVDs have been found at other UCSC campus locations, and have been reported as having appeared at off-campus locations as well. The Crown and Merrill incidents have been reported through the UCSC Report Hate web site.
As noted in the UCSC free speech statement, all persons have “the freedom to express opinions; to hear, express and debate various views, no matter how unpopular; and to voice criticism.” In other words, people have the right to distribute controversial content on the UCSC campus, provided that they do not violate campus policies, state law, or federal law in the process. Although the UCSC Police Department is seeking a person of interest who was seen leaving the envelopes at Merrill College, it is not yet clear whether or not this person’s actions constitute a violation of any policy or law.
As the leaders of Crown and Merrill Colleges, we’d like to express our strongest condemnation of this hate- and bias-motivated speech, which is in stark contrast with the values of mutual respect and embracement of diversity espoused in UCSC’s Principles of Community, the Crown mission, and the Merrill ethos. We are dismayed that someone has chosen to anonymously promulgate such hateful ideology at UCSC, and are deeply concerned about its possible impact on our students, staff, and faculty. If you have been affected by this situation and wish to seek support or engage in dialogue, we invite you to reach out to Crown or Merrill staff such as Residential Assistants, Coordinators for Residential Education, or provosts, or to faculty members such as your Core course instructors.
We encourage all Crown and Merrill students to continue the lifelong process of educating yourselves about the many forms of human difference. UCSC offers many opportunities and resources, available to students of any and all identities, that may support such learning. These resources include but are not limited to:
- The UCSC Resource Centers
- The UCSC Interfaith Council
The investigation into this incident is ongoing. The UCSC Police Department has encouraged anyone with information about the identity of the person who distributed the DVDs to contact them at 831.459.2231, ext. 1.
If you are the person who distributed these materials, we urge you to come forward and engage responsibly with our community. We acknowledge that you may not have had ill intentions, or were not aware of the potential impact of anonymously dropping off inflammatory materials. Taking responsibility is perhaps the best way that you can attempt to repair the harm caused and rebuild trust within our community. These kinds of outcomes may be facilitated through a restorative justice process such as those offered through UCSC’s restorative justice program. We will gladly support such a process should you be willing to come forward.
Please feel free to contact any of us should you have questions or concerns about this matter.
Prof. Elizabeth Abrams, Merrill Provost
Brian Arao, Associate College Administrative Officer
Alex Belisario, College Administrative Officer
Prof. Manel Camps, Crown Provost