Multiple incidents of racist vandalism take place in da Vinci RLC
The Santa Clara
February 8, 2018
Just two weeks after anti-immigration posters demeaning sexual assault were found on campus, someone defaced a Black Lives Matter bulletin board in Casa Residence Hall.
According to a campus-wide email sent by Vice Provost for Student Life Jeanne Rosenberger, there were three separate vandalisms to a second floor Casa bulletin board with information on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Two of the incidents occurred only hours apart. It is unclear if these acts were committed by the same person(s).
“In the first incident, someone removed the word ‘Black’ from a ‘Black Lives Matter’ heading on the bulletin board,” the email wrote. “In the second incident, the entire ‘Black Lives Matter’ heading was removed. Three hours later, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ heading was once again removed along with a display of relevant statistics and a QR code that provided a link to the Black Lives Matter website.”
“I condemn efforts to silence the voices of those who created the display on the Black Lives Matter movement. These acts violate the core values and ethos of the Santa Clara University community,” Rosenberger said in the email. “Our institutional identity is built upon the dignity of each human being and calls us to respect the rights and well-being of others.
The Black Lives Matter movement was a response to the killing of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
According to its mission statement, the Black Lives Matter movement advocates for the dignity and equality of all black people.
“We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise,” the official website states. “We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
“The capacity for people to be awful is really disheartening,” Ciaran Freeman said, the Casa Assistant Resident Director. “You’re trying to encourage people to start these interesting conversations and have bulletins like Black Lives Matter be an educational resource and create an environment that you want to live in.”
This is not an isolated incident. Last year, someone drew a swastika in blood in the Casa elevator and wrote homophobic slurs on a bulletin board in Casa.
A white supremacy group, Identity Evropa, posted flyers throughout campus, including in the Ethnic Studies and Women and Gender Studies department last winter.
There was also vandalism and defacement of the 43 students memorial.
Junior Joslyn Harper, a Casa resident, expressed disappointed over the fact that incidents targeting students of color keep occuring.
She explained that the statement “Black Lives Matter” does not mean that other lives don’t matter. Rather, the movement concentrates on advocacy for black people in a country where black people are still oppressed, Harper explained.
Director of the Multicultural Center (MCC), Zerreen Kazi, shared that the MCC does not yet have a concrete plan for mobilization.
Their first priority is ensuring the emotional well-being of black students, particularly black women, as black women started the BLM movement.
Kazi explained that the MCC will follow the direction that leadership of Igwebuike, the black student union, plans to take.
Kazi believes that incidents targeting students of color are not isolated, but rather indicative of a systematic problem on campus.
“Though these specific incidents highlight the very specific and aggressive form of hate, there is hate that exists on the day to day basis that our community members are facing,” Kazi said.
Freeman found the acts “disheartening” and “frustrating.” He believes the repetition of the vandalism indicates that the culprit defaced the posters out of malice rather than ignorance.
In response to the targeted act, the Casa community will create a new bulletin board to counteract the narrative.
There was also a forum before Casa’s weekly tradition of daVinci Cafe to offer support to community members.
“The timing of such vandalism and acts that work to invalidate and dehumanize members of our larger community cannot go unnoticed or remain unspoken,” Casa Resident Director Zach Tepper said in an email to Casa residents. “This occurs as we enter February, a month intended to celebrate and honor the tremendous contributions of black and African-American individuals to intellectual discourse, culture, scientific achievement, and in combating social injustices.”
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