Statement by UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May to the Community

‘Violence Is Never the Answer to Address Our Grievances’

Chancellor Gary S. May, at desk, hand to cheek, serious
Chancellor Gary S. May

Chancellor Gary S. May issued the following statement today (Jan. 6):

It’s a sad day in America.

It didn’t start out that way, though. I awoke this morning and went for my run, buoyed by the thoughtful reflection shared by newly elected Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, who said that the hands of his 82-year-old mother that were once “used to pick somebody else’s cotton” were just used to vote for the first African American senator in the history his state. I lived much of my adult life in the state of Georgia, and although I do not know Reverend Warnock personally, I have attended several services in Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he is pastor and Martin Luther King Jr. once was. I always enjoyed his sermons and was uplifted by the progress his story represented.

That was this morning. By the time I finished my monthly UC Council of Chancellors Zoom call this afternoon, the day had taken a darker turn. The images we’ve seen of Washington, D.C., today are difficult to reconcile. We all denounce the abhorrent behavior of the insurrectionists who breached our nation’s Capitol. The inexplicable leniency shown by law enforcement toward these seditionists was not lost on me as well and stood in stark contrast to the treatment of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square just weeks ago.

Our democracy is a 244-year-old institution that we build upon daily by participation, debate, peaceful protest, and advocating for the initiatives and change we believe in. Sometimes our views will prevail, sometimes they will not. Yet violence is never the answer to address our grievances. We must rely on our shared values and the principles of democracy that we hold dear.

While it is indeed a sad day, we’re reminded today of how important it is to recommit to these ideals and to peacefully pursue solutions to our nation’s challenges. At UC Davis, we value a culture of mutual respect. Let’s continue to take care of one another, knowing that, as always, we will get through this — together.

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