As faculty of African descent here at the University of California, San Diego, we write to express our disgust at the racist and misogynist events of last week. We hope that the students understand that we stand alongside them. We thank those colleagues who have contacted us individually and collectively to express their anger at the attitudes and behavior of the members of Pi Kappa Alpha and the Koala. We ask that the entire faculty join us in a demonstration of common outrage, and assist us in moving forward by signaling agreement with the ideas expressed in this statement.
As the undergraduate students have explained, both the “Compton Cookout” and the racist drivel broadcast on SR-TV are indicative of a broader campus climate of hostility and neglect. We believe that UC San Diego must act strongly, both to sanction appropriately those responsible for these events and, equally importantly, to augment our intellectual and personal commitment to confronting the problems of outreach, yield, and retention in respect to underrepresented communities in general—and African
American students in particular—on our campus. We are proud of the many efforts made by dedicated faculty, students and staff across the campus aimed at fostering a more hospitable environment, improving yield, and producing curricular innovation. We share their fear of the devastating long-term effects that will result if this university acquires a national or international reputation for intolerance and bigotry.
We stand today at a crossroads. Addressing the academic and student affairs needs of historically underrepresented groups remains one of this institution’s most glaring areas of unfulfilled promise. In the previous decade, the university has convened a number of committees charged with improving admissions and undergraduate yield, faculty equity and diversity, and the larger climate and reputation of UCSD. We do not wish to see further duplication. We have had task forces: now we need resources. We understand that the university faces a profound financial crisis. Nevertheless, we believe that this crisis cannot become the rationale for any slackening of efforts in regard to racial and ethnic diversity, increased educational access, or the creation of a campus climate that accurately reflects the UCSD mission of the fullest possible access to education, research, and public service.
We ask our colleagues from across the campus to add their voices to ours by signing on to this letter.