Thursday, May 23

UCLA needs to move forward from hurtful incident

To the UCLA campus community:

Late Monday afternoon I became aware of an off-campus incident targeting our students in their off-campus place of residence. The front door of the apartment was vandalized with racist and sexist language. There was also a story about this hate crime in the Daily Bruin. This incident gives us an opportunity to examine our commitment to diversity and social justice not only as a community but also as individuals striving for success. When I arrived at UCLA eight months ago, one of the key attractions to this campus was UCLA’s Principles of Community and my interaction with students while visiting this campus. The message this institution was sending by creating my position conveyed one of commitment to our students.

As assistant dean of students for campus climate, I think it is important to affirm that hate crimes, hate speech and biased incidents are antithetical to our Principles of Community, to True Bruin values and our heartfelt commitment to diversity. As Bruins, it is important to think about how our actions, language and campus events impact our community. This incident was not the first of its kind but it presents the opportunity for us to engage in dialogue and identify how we can become agents of change toward making it the last time we see such hate against members of our community.

UCLA has a rich history of producing strong leadership. I believe in our ability to turn the negative impact this incident has had on us into a learning opportunity. It is important that we stand in solidarity against acts like these. We also have to realize that there is a lot of work to do not only on our campus but our surrounding communities as well.

I wish I could say we could eradicate all forms of biased incidents and hate crimes but the reality is this problem is larger than just UCLA. These crimes stem from something that we have to work to eradicate from our society on multiple levels. Combating bias begins with each of ourselves on the individual level. Through challenging our own thoughts and actions and working together we can heal our community and move forward in a positive direction. My door is always open to everyone in our community. I especially invite those who would like to engage in dialogue and strategize on preventative measures we as a True Bruin community can initiate in order to combat such hateful and hurtful incidents.

Christine Mata

Mata is the assistant dean of students for campus climate.

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