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Message from Chancellor Christ

Dear campus community,

I am writing out of deep concern for the multiple communities affected by the rash of violent rallies that hate and bigotry have spawned across our country.  Like Berkeley’s Mayor Jesse Arreguin, I applaud the thousands who protested peacefully in Berkeley yesterday against such hatred and prejudice; I am glad there was relatively little violence and, like the Mayor, I condemn it.  Questions have been raised about the specific measures we chose to protect our campus and community in yesterday’s protests. As with any event involving security on this scale, we will evaluate whether the steps we took were effective in protecting our community.  We invite your feedback; our primary goal is the safety of the community and the exercise of the right to non-violent protest.

The bigotry and racism of recent rallies across the country are loathsome; they violate our values as a nation, and they violate our values as a university community.  Even as we uphold the right of free speech as guaranteed in the Constitution, we must speak out about odious ideas that devalue the full humanity of groups in our society and that sow hatred and division.  We will provide even more opportunities for groups, including those who have experienced prejudice, to have platforms for more speech, speech that reflects our values as a campus, celebrates diversity, builds unity, and values all identities. We will make the necessary expenditures to keep people safe. These are unplanned expenses that come amid our budget crisis.  While certainly there are other needed uses for this money, we must prioritize the safety and security of our community.

This is a moment when our core values are threatened—not only free speech but reason, tolerance, inclusion, diversity, and non-violent protest.  I wrote in my introductory message to the campus that my first goal as chancellor is to foster community.  I invite your suggestions for ways in which we can best achieve that goal in the challenging weeks ahead.

Sincerely,

Carol Christ
Chancellor
chancellor@berkeley.edu