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Letter to the Editor: Recent acts of vandalism contradict Bruin values of inclusion, respect

By Jerry Kang, Monroe Gorden, and Pouria Abbassi

May 14, 2018 7:24 p.m.

We write to denounce two recent acts of vandalism that targeted the Undergraduate Students Association Council Academic Affairs Commission.

First, the pride flag hanging on the AAC’s office door was stolen. Then, after the stolen flag was replaced, the word “fag” was drawn on the door. The perpetrators of this vandalism are currently unknown, and UCPD is appropriately treating this as a hate crime.

Regrettably, these hurtful incidents follow a similar incident in which a Jewish mezuzah was torn off the doorpost of the USAC president’s office.

Much could be said about these troubling incidents and the ugly slur sketched onto the AAC’s door. Our message here is simple.

First, we repudiate hateful acts that demean and degrade on the basis of identity, including sexual orientation. Such conduct runs contrary to Bruin values and has no place at UCLA. Second, as we have stated previously, the university will not tolerate hateful acts that target fellow Bruins, and we will deploy all lawful resources to counter any harassment or intimidation. We continue to unite under a collective resolve to ensure that all members of our community feel safe, valued and welcome.

Third, we applaud how UCLA’s student leaders, stepping up to the challenge of shared governance, have responded to this incident. As the Daily Bruin reported, Divya Sharma, the USAC Academic Affairs commissioner, will coordinate efforts to collect donations for the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center.

The Daily Bruin has also authored a forceful editorial condemning these recent homophobic acts. The Office of Student Affairs has been coordinating closely with various student groups to plan educational campaigns, workshops and events.

Additionally, Associated Students UCLA is collaborating with the appropriate entities to enhance operational protocols with a solid determination to ensure that respect, safety and security of all members of the Bruin family and guests remain of highest priority.

While incidents like this are upsetting and demoralizing, it is important to recognize that, in large part, UCLA has resisted the divisiveness and intolerance that have corroded our national politics. We find countless examples of Bruins engaging in good faith – across difference – with a keen interest in listening to and understanding opposing viewpoints and perspectives.

Commencement season is near. As this exciting time approaches, we hope that all Bruins stand together to celebrate our differences and our accomplishments, and to condemn hateful acts that undermine our most basic commitments to one another. We will always be stronger together. Acts of hate and intolerance have no place at UCLA.

Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Monroe Gorden Jr., Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

Pouria Abbassi, ASUCLA Executive Director and CEO

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