SAN FRANCISCO – University of California officials on Wednesday condemned recent incidents of racism and intolerance on campus and promised to promote greater diversity and inclusion.
At a meeting of the UC Board of Regents, administrators and board members apologized to students for the acts that have raised racial tensions and sparked heated debate about race and diversity within the 10-campus system.
The incidents include a picture of a noose found at UC Santa Cruz, swastikas spray-painted at UC Davis and an off-campus “Compton Cookout” party that mocked Black History Month at UC San Diego.
“All the regents regret that any member of the UC community had to endure such disgusting acts of bigotry,” said Russell Gould, who chairs the board. “They are a disgrace to the values of this institution.”
UC President Mark Yudof said he has started working with students on legislation to combat campus hate crimes and appointed UC Berkeley law school Dean Christopher Edley as special adviser on racial issues at UC San Diego.
Yudof also said UC will reevaluate its admissions policies, which critics say deter many underrepresented minorities from attending the university. He wants the university to expand its pool of applicants and consider more factors beyond grades and test scores without violating the voter-approved ban on affirmative action.
“As a university, we have to recognize we have a problem,” Yudof said. “There are no excuses for the behavior we witnessed.”
Black student leaders at UC San Diego said the incidents, which include a student making racially derogatory remarks on a student-run TV station, have heightened tensions on campus and undermined efforts to recruit more African-Americans to the school, where less than 2 percent of undergraduates are Black.
“It’s really toxic on campus,” said David Richardson, who co-chairs the school’s Black Student Union. “Students don’t feel safe going to class. Students don’t feel safe in the dorms.”