To: University of California President Janet Napolitano (510) 987-9200UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox (951) 827-5201 UC Riverside Assistant Dean of Students Jose Virato (951) 827-7215
The undersigned individuals and organizations write first to condemn the UC Riverside administration’s tacit endorsement of the harassment, doxxing, intimidation, and violent threats against UC Riverside student Edith Macias. Following an incident caught on video wherein Macias removed a “MAGA” hat--a symbol that has come to be associated with a violently anti-immigrant, white supremacist regime--from another student’s head, they and their family have been subjected to numerous abusive comments and threats of violence, including deportation and even death. These threats have come from far-right white-supremacist media mouthpieces such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Tucker Carlson, and Ann Coulter with extensive reach to conservative media outlets including Breitbart News and FOX News, placing Macias and their family in substantial danger.
Second, we write to urge members of the UC administration to extend protections to Macias and others, particularly queer and trans students and workers of color, facing similar violence. Thus far, UC Riverside and the UC Office of the President have failed to act substantially in the defense of Macias against racist harassment and violence. This silence runs contrary to a recent letter from the Chancellor’s office that stated, “[P]articularly now—after incidents at the University of Virginia and UC Berkeley and the rescinding of DACA—it is critical that we recommit to the Principles of Community.” Concerningly, this statement was immediately followed by an affirmation about the importance of “freedom of speech,” calling for the formation of a “Free Speech Working Group” to look into these matters. We raise issue with this framing, as we have seen free speech increasingly used as a dog whistle for the protection of white supremacist violence in the University of California system and elsewhere. The Chancellor’s response does nothing to ensure the physical safety of students of color, queer and trans students, and other marginalized groups on campus and their families, but instead seems designed to protect the ability of individuals aligned with rightwing racist movements to doxx and harass them. We write to acknowledge that if the UC system seeks to provide actual protection for its most vulnerable community members--that is, for the people they were hired to serve--the administration must do substantially more to ensure their safety.
On behalf of Macias and their family, in order to fulfill the UC’s stated commitment to ensuring the protection of members its community facing targeted threats of violence, the undersigned authors urge the UC administration to implement the following actions as soon as possible:
1. Subsidize Alternate Housing for Macias and Their FamilyThe University of California has increasingly allowed its campuses to be used as platforms for various alt-right, white supremacist supporters to spread messages of hatred and violence. This climate has escalated doxxing (a tactic used by the alt-right to release personal information like home addresses and names and contacts for family members, used to harass and threaten with violence immigrants, people of color, Muslim and/or Muslim-passing people, queer and trans people, and others whose existence is threatened by the alt-right). Due to the increased escalation in these and related forms of harm, we demand that the UC administration, including President Napolitano and Chancellor Wilcox, pay for alternate housing accommodations for Macias and their family while simultaneously covering their current housing costs in order to keep them safe from threats of harm. We call on you to work with Macias to organize these accommodations immediately.
2. Grant Macias Amnesty and Protection from Any Student or Legal ChargesWe understand that Macias may be facing legal charges and potentially also student code of conduct charges for the incident referenced above. We unequivocally condemn such a potential response by the University to criminalize student dissent to a toxic political climate and urge the administration to grant Macias amnesty from any potential and bogus charges.
3. Implement Mental Health Accommodations for School WorkBecause of the emotionally and physically taxing nature of this situation, we urge the UC Riverside administration, including Chancellor Wilcox and Assistant Dean of Students Virato, to support Macias through accommodations for late school work and provide counseling free of charge in order to support their wellbeing during these trying times.
4. Issue a Public Statement Against White Supremacist Violence and in Support of Sanctuary CampusesAs threats like those Macias and their family are facing mount throughout the UC system, we look to UC administrators President Napolitano and Chancellor Wilcox for a clear statement condemning all forms of white supremacist violence that target communities currently facing numerous threats in this political climate. In addition, we urge UC President Napolitano in particular to issue a statement expressing the fullest support for enacting measures that would constitute UC campuses as real sanctuaries for undocumented people and all others facing escalating oppression. We believe such a statement from President Napolitano is especially necessary, given her prior role as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and that organization’s role in deporting undocumented people. If she wishes to reestablish herself as a public advocate for all students in the UC system, she must make her position on anti-immigrant violence, including state orchestrated deportations under the Trump regime, clear by implementing immediate sanctuary measures designed to support communities under threat.
If the university intends to make good on its alleged resolution to protect DACA students, immigrants, queer and trans students (particularly QTPOC), and other vulnerable populations at this moment, then Chancellor Wilcox and President Napolitano must take immediate and concrete actions--those listed here and potentially others--to protect Macias, their family, and other students. The undersigned will work to ensure that justice for Macias prevails.
Sincerely,The Undersigned Individuals and Organizations