Today an atmosphere of grief pervaded Berkeley, and a series of emails came from higher and higher up the chain of command, culminating with one from Janet Napolitano, reaffirming the University of California’s commitment to its principles of inclusivity, diversity, and all things that are good. Here is an email from the Vice-Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion:
Dear Cal Students, Staff, and Faculty,
We know that the results of yesterday’s election have sparked fear and concern among many in our community; in particular our immigrant and undocumented communities, Muslim, African American, Chicanx/Latinx, LGBTQ+, Asian and Pacific Islander communities, survivors of sexual assault, people with disabilities, women, and many others. We are reaching out to you with a message of support. UC Berkeley leadership remains steadfast in our values and committed to the safety and well-being of all of our students, faculty, and staff. We condemn bigotry and hatred in all forms, and hold steadfast in our commitment to equity, access, and a campus that is safe, inclusive, and welcoming to all.
Various communities have organized the following community spaces and resources:
- A community space for undocumented students tonight at 6:30pm in Chavez Room 105.
- CLSD and CLPR are hosting space at the Shorb House, 2547 Channing Way from 12pm-5pm for students to come by. Faculty and staff will be there in community with our students for support.
- MCC is holding a safe space for POC/Black students from 8pm-10pm this evening.
- QTAP is hosting a QTOPC dinner in Anthony Hall at 6pm.
- The Gender Equity Resource Center is open today, until 5pm, for those who wish for a quiet space for contemplation and community. GenEq is also hosting the following healing spaces:
- Women’s Healing Space – Today, November 9th, 1pm-2:30pm
- LGBTQ+ Healing Space – Today, November 9th, 2:30pm-4pm
Now, without discounting the value of having a good place to quietly sob with like-minded people, this strikes me as the message you would send after the Charleston shooting, or the Orlando shooting. This was not the act of one disturbed person. Sixty million Americans went to the trouble of going all the way to the polling place to vote for Trump, or of filling up their absentee ballot, and then mailing it in. That’s one in four adult Americans, a diverse coalition of white people: educated white people and less educated white people, male white people and female white people, religious white people and secular white people, and, one should note, even a few people who are not white. White people who thought it’s their constitutional right to discriminate against gay people, white people who think it’s ok to grab women by their pussy, and that you can get away with it if you are a star, white people who think muslims should not come to the US.
Our students will meet these people everywhere. They will be their neighbors, their coworkers, their bosses, and maybe their in-laws. When our students graduate, there will be no safe space.
And if there were, that is not where they should go. Because those sixty million people will not change their minds by talking among themselves.
But the oppressed cannot be left alone to speak out for themselves.
A feature of rape prevention programs is bystander intervention training: telling people how to recognize a situation in which someone is at risk of assault, and intervene.
We need white people to speak out against racism, christians to speak out for the religion freedom of non-christians, men to speak out against misogyny, straight people to speak out for LGBT people, Republicans to speak out against Trump.
And we need them to do this where it is not safe to do so, because otherwise all we have is angry people talking to the like-minded on the internet.
Edited to add a useful link