Dear Campus Community,
Since the beginning of the spring semester I have heard from too many students that incidents and statements made in public conversations, on and near campus, have left them feeling unsafe and alienated from the campus community. This message is a response to these concerns and includes a description of the resources available to address safety issues, as well as a repeated call from campus leadership for all of us to understand and uphold our Principles of Community.
Safety is a Top Priority
Our campus responds when individuals report being subjected to physical assault, harassment, and all threats to their person, and determines whether threats are actionable. I encourage any victim of this kind of conduct to report the incident to UCPD and the Center for Student Conduct.
A feeling of psychological well-being is more difficult for the campus to address, yet is as important as physical safety. Psychological well-being includes the confidence that a person will not be punished, harmed or humiliated for expressing their ideas, questions or concerns. On our public campus, we pride ourselves on being the initiators of the free speech movement, yet we live with the reality that some speech is inconsistent with our Principles of Community and has a negative impact upon the psychological well-being of members of our community. Addressing this tension requires continuous campus-wide attention and commitment. To give all members of our community a sense of belonging, we must acknowledge that such speech can harm, alienate, exclude and create a culture of othering, though speech that is offensive is protected under the First Amendment. To address any harm that speech can cause, we have campus counselors, advisors, and resources available to help our community process and deal with the harm that some speech can create.
Outside of the control of our university, there are websites, social media posts and other online forums that can compromise the personal safety and professional reputation of our campus community by sharing personal information in a way that enables physical and online intimidation of students, staff, faculty, and even their family members. I condemn any efforts to blacklist, profile, label, slander, dox and/or target members of our campus community in order to silence them. Such actions can cause personal and professional harm. If any student finds that their personal safety and/or professional reputation is challenged, I am willing to write letters of support for any student blacklisted on these sites/and or social media forums to correct falsehoods being spread about them in relation to their campus status.
If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination and harassment on the basis of categories including race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation/identity and/or sexual violence status, you have the right to and are encouraged to contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) to report an incident.
In addition, I encourage you to report concerns about hateful incidents or messages to stophate.berkeley.edu, our systemwide portal for making those reports.
If you are interested in an escort due to safety concerns, please visit the BearWalk website or call (510) 642-9255.
A Call to Community
Finally, I am calling on our community – students, staff and faculty – to consider our own roles in creating our campus climate. We all possess great power to hurt or heal. We can de-escalate a situation or crisis; we can humanize or de-humanize others. As Golden Bears, we have a responsibility to make actionable our Principles of Community, which reflect our passion for critical inquiry, debate, discovery and innovation, and our deep commitment to contributing to a better world. Every member of the UC Berkeley community has a role in sustaining a safe, caring and humane environment in which these values – and each of us – can thrive.