November 22, 2016
The day following the presidential election, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman joined 9 UC chancellors and the president of the University in issuing a statement to underscore our unwavering support for all members of our community in accord with UC’s Principles Against Intolerance. As the Principles make clear, the University “strives to foster an environment in which all are included” and “all are given an equal opportunity to learn and explore” free of harassment based on immigration status, racial/ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or political views.
On the same day, I also sent a personal message to our students calling for respect, empathy and time to heal. In acknowledging the range of emotions that sometimes disrupt our normal sensibilities, I offered then and do so now the resources of our campus to help all members of our “’Eater Nation” family to navigate these uncertain times.
Since then, there have been disturbing reports from across the nation of of visible bigotry, intimidation, harassment, and, in some cases, violence against individuals and targeted groups. If this has happened to you, or you have witnessed such incidents, I encourage you to file a report with UCIPD, 949-824-5223, or through our hate/bias reporting site so that these incidents can be thoroughly investigated. Other campus resources include the Undocumented Support Services, Undocumented Legal Services Center, Cross-Cultural Center, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, and Counseling Center, which are all available to support you.
Many of our students, and indeed our campus community, have specifically expressed uncertainty and fear over possible changes to federal immigration policies that may directly affect them and/or their families, as well as the University as a whole. We acknowledge that and we hear you. As such, President Napolitano has convened a working group to develop the best and most effective responses by UC to possible changes to federal immigration policies under the incoming administration. The unequivocal goal of these efforts is to protect all members of our community and ensure their continued success at the University. The working group is moving quickly, and we will keep you posted about its efforts.
In the meantime, I’d like to reiterate that UCI’s policies and commitments to our students, particularly those covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, are clear and unchanged. Our support for other student groups remains uncompromising as well. We will maintain a safe and welcoming environment for learning, working and living, regardless of immigration status or demographic characteristics. While it is too soon to speculate on any potential changes in national policy, we will remain steadfast in our support of our students and their right to privacy.
Let us continue our interactions with one another in the spirit of respect and cooperation. As noted in the Principles Against Intolerance, “[we are] best served when members of the University community collaborate to foster an equal learning environment for all, in which all members of the community are welcomed and confident of their physical safety.”
Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D.