Chancellor Gary S. May and other UC Davis leaders have issued a video message in which they discussed the importance of fostering a campus community founded on connection, mutual respect and kindness, even as external events create challenges. They reaffirmed UC Davis’ Principles of Community, which underlie a learning and research environment in which people can be their authentic selves and contribute to the university and beyond.
Watch the video below:
Chancellor Gary S. May
All of us here at UC Davis — students, staff, and faculty — chose to be here. We’re here to get an education, share our talents and expertise, contribute our time and energy to a learning environment, make new discoveries, provide a living for ourselves and our loved ones, and make a positive difference in the lives of others.
We are a community that represents and welcomes people from different backgrounds and perspectives, and we are better for our differences. Everyone deserves to feel safe, be heard, and be free from being targeted because of our ethnic background or where we were born. Every human being has a right to live and thrive.
We know that global and local events are causing direct or indirect trauma to our students, faculty and staff. In the midst of these external events, we’re hearing speech on and off campus laced with hate. We know it is painful. It’s hard to hear and tolerate hate speech, even though hate speech is covered by the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of expression.
Having said that, when hate speech turns to demonizing groups of people based on their religion, birthplace, ethnicity, race, or gender, we will not remain silent. We will continue to condemn that speech. We will continue to urge our community to come together, to find areas of common ground, to reject hate in all of its forms.
We are all members of the same community. We must not forget that.
Some people use their freedom of expression to spread ugliness. We’ve had reports of troubling behavior related to what’s going on globally. People have reported slurs used against them, being spit on, and having their personal belongings vandalized. I understand and have great empathy for what you are experiencing, as I, too, have been subjected to smears and personal attacks throughout my life, and even now as Chancellor of this outstanding institution.
Students have shared that they’re afraid of getting called out in classrooms for doing nothing other than being themselves. If any of these things are happening to you, please report it so that we can take appropriate action.
Perhaps most concerning is that some members of our community feel they have to hide their identity from others out of fear.
Any action that makes a person, from any background, country, religion, identity, feel unwelcome, afraid, and unable to learn or work, is not acceptable in our community.
That is not who we are.
We stand against human suffering. We acknowledge and will continue to condemn horrific actions happening around the world, the destruction heaped upon innocent people, and all those whose lives will never be the same. We also recognize that many of you want to express your own support for the communities with which you engage.
Let’s remember our Principles of Community, which start with this simple yet powerful sentence: We affirm the dignity that is inherent in each of us.
This is who we are.
Our Principles of Community are as follows:
We affirm the dignity inherent in all of us, and we strive to maintain a climate of equity and justice demonstrated by respect for one another. We acknowledge that our society carries within it historical and deep-rooted injustices and biases. Therefore, we endeavor to foster mutual understanding and respect among the many parts of our whole.
We affirm the right of freedom of expression within our community. We affirm our commitment to non-violent exchange and the highest standards of conduct and decency toward all. Within this context we reject violence in all forms. We promote open expression of our individuality and our diversity within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect. We further recognize the right of every individual to think, speak, express and debate any idea limited only by university regulations governing time, place and manner.
We confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, age, visible and non-visible disability, nationality, sexual orientation, citizenship status, veteran status, religious/non-religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, socio-economic class, status within or outside the university, or any of the other differences among people which have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension or hatred. We recognize and cherish the richness contributed to our lives by our diversity. We take pride in all our achievements, and we celebrate our differences.
We recognize that each of us has an obligation to the UC Davis community of which we have chosen to be a part. We will strive to build and maintain a culture and climate based on mutual respect and caring.
Chancellor Gary S. May
We must honor one another’s humanity, even when we don’t agree. We must give people the freedom and opportunity to be who they are, authentically. We — as a campus community — have to be clear that people must be free from being dehumanized. No one should ever fear coming to campus to learn or work. No student, member of the faculty, or member of staff, should make any other Aggie feel unwelcome.
You are here because you belong here. WE belong here, with our similarities and differences, with our agreements and dissent. We must remember that connection, compassion, and kindness are what makes this our own special community. We respect our humanity. This is who we are.
- James Nash, News and Media Relations, 530-219-0943, firstname.lastname@example.org