Recently there was an incident at the University of California-Merced campus where the administration had to respond to hateful messages written by students: over 70 white boards displayed offensive drawings and racist and anti-gay epithets. Although this happened in the beginning of the month, I am still in astonishment. A small group of students were found as the culprits. The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost sent an email out to the entire student body:
"This act of vandalism not only demonstrated a lack of respect for the campus' physical space, but more importantly, a lack of respect for principles that are core to our university," the e-mail stated.I live rather close to the UC Merced campus, so it totally shocked me when I heard of this incident. I can imagine the fear and frustration the LGBTQ community of UC Merced must be feeling. I get that same feeling when I go for my evening walks and fall victim to drive-by "fag-ings." It's not a safe feeling. UC Merced does need to work towards education for their students on the issues like homosexualiy, racism, etc. I want Merced to be a safe place for the gay community that exists here. I am saddened by how underground the LGBTQ community of Merced is though.
"The writing on the walls included degrading racial slurs and offensive statements about sexuality specifically targeted at our gay and lesbian students. This behavior violates the university's Principles of Community; principles to which we all ascribed when we chose to attend or work at UC Merced. Our principles talk of integrity, fairness and intellectual excellence. They were ignored in this cowardly act," the e-mail continued.
I'm willing to offer myself as peformance activist and a Merced native to speak to UC Merced and in the community. I am here to be a resource. It makes me sad that I am leaving in two weeks, knowing that our community isn't as progressive as I would like it be.