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Central Valley | Education & Student Activism | Racial Justice

Stop Discrimination at UC Davis
by Brittany Delany
Thursday Apr 25th, 2013 12:08 PM
No student should tolerate any form of abuse from people in authority within any institution of learning. All students have the right to be treated in a healthy, respectful and in a dignified manner. This campaign is spearheaded by several male students of African descent that attend UCD, past and present students of color from the dramatic arts department/ performance studies department who have been assaulted by various forms of hostile treatment and discrimination. We bring light, support, urgency and encouragement to those graduate students facing discrimination and abuse, particularly from the Dramatic Arts Department, Performance Studies Department and Graduate office. It is also a way to protest against discrimination and to send a message to the UC officials and all places of learning around the world.
Keeping places of learning free from harassment takes vigilant watch from the public at large, people within the institution and the voices of those in harm’s way.

An overwhelming number of graduate and undergraduate students of color continue to face discrimination, harassment and hostile treatment on the University of California, Davis campus. The unacceptable treatment is not only a civil rights issue but a human rights issue. Disturbingly, these incidents have occurred for a number of years at the UCD campus and in more recent years within the MFA Theater and Dance Department of Dramatic Arts, the PhD Performance Studies Departments and Graduate office. It is shameful that currently there is not a sufficient number of faculty, voting and nonvoting senate members, staff and students of color on UC campuses. Without equal representation in all aspects of the university, the campus will continue to be shaped in a discriminatory manner. The little increase in the percentage of people of color in UC is unacceptable and should not be regarded as progress. The long and short term benefits of eradicating discrimination will far outweigh short-sighted complacencies.

Below are some of the unacceptable behaviors perpetrated against people of color at UC Davis, primarily in the Theater and Dance, Performance Studies and Graduate office:

Professors, administrators and staff have verbally attacked students of color with belittling and demeaning language in the Dramatic Arts Department and Performance Studies department.

Professors in the Dramatic Arts and Performance studies department have promoted derogatory performance from guest artist and students, often scolding students of color when they have critical/ opposing views about the work.

Retention officer of Graduate office went against job description by supporting discrimination and harassment towards several students of color. Staff and students have witnessed this.

The University creates programs on the surface which seem like they support students of color but in practice students of color are punished severely for unwarranted reasons.

While a professor from the Dramatic Arts department was out of state, that professor asked a student to call police on graduate student of color in order to harass the student.

Professors, administrators and graduate studies officials have broken several of their own policies and faced zero accountability.

Financial aid and contracts for work that were awarded to students were taken away without reason and without adjusting students’ award letter.

Graduate office officials and Dramatic Arts department claim that if a student of color receives an MFA the degree will become valueless.

No prior warning was given before disqualifying a student from MFA a month before graduation.

Policies broken/ fraud include:

Professors have failed to teach courses they were assigned to teach, only later to give students NS (No work submitted ).

Professors gave grades that were inaccurate and against their own syllabus. The grade change committee also went against their own policy by not changing grades that they claim where given incorrectly by the department.

Chair in the Dramatic Arts Department has changed 4 times in one year in order to compensate for professors' time away from the University as a result of breaking contracts and obligations to the department.

One of the Chairs of the Department admits to Dean that he did not know he was on the MFA committee a month before the thesis was completed and Dean does not take action. The department sees fit to blame student of color for their inadequacies.

Professors retroactively create rules to retroactively fail students of color they have animus towards.

Professors have fabricated students’ handwriting in order to drop students from courses without students’ permission. When students inform SJA (Student Judicial Affairs), the matter is covered up.

Although former SJA Director stepped down from office a few years ago for improper conduct, it has not improved the quality of the current SJA service towards students.

Professors have made up fake progress reports that they only use for students of color and the graduate office has covered up the incident instead of holding the department accountable.

Retention Officers have gone against their job description and devised plans to harm students of color. Administrative staff have admitted to these actions.

The Dean and Associate Deans have failed to hold the Dramatic Arts Department accountable for: going against University policy, engaging in discrimination, fraud and abusing authority.

The Dean has gone against the Graduate council recommendation to see to it that students who are wrongfully disqualified complete their degree objectives.

Although the University and University Police department are mandated to report harassment, fraud and hostile incidents they did not. Instead, they have repeatedly ignored calls and reports made from students of color, in distress, about discrimination and hostile treatment perpetrated by faculty and staff within the Theater and Dance Department, Performance Studies department and Graduate office officials.

Administrators repeatedly treated students of color as less than equal and with less respect than their caucasian colleagues. New and former students that have been admitted to the Dramatic Arts Department have complained about this.

Male students of color have made several complaints that Davis police racially profile them while on campus.

Recently, police hogtied a student of color and imprisoned the student because the student was non-violently and non-threateningly debating with a friend. All charges against the student were dismissed in court. No apology was made about the incident.

Deans, Associate Deans, Retention officers and other members of graduate studies have consistently engaged in and supported discrimination and abuse of authority happening within the Dramatic Arts department and Performance studies department.

University officials in charge of investigating matters of abuse, retaliation and discrimination towards students have failed to do so even after several extensions into investigations.

The students that have are and are being discriminated upon are all A average students of color in good academic standing and with zero record of misconduct. One of the students had his PhD taken away from him, only to have it returned because he caught the department in a lie. That same A average student was wrongfully disqualified from the MFA program which claimed he was not competent enough to receive a degree. Although the academic senate has seen that the disqualification was unwarranted and the student was readmitted, the student still faces several forms of retaliation and discrimination.

Another student of color in the PhD department was forced to transfer after years of unbearable discrimination and harassment.

We demand that:

The Department of Education (DOE) mandate enforcement to policies that are being neglected.

The DOE should change policies that are inadequate within UC and make a record of negligence, discriminatory incidents available via public records so unfortunate incidents do not fester.

The NAACP hold the University accountable for discrimination and uncivil disobedience instead of waiting for more discrimination to occur.

The Yolo county police department hold university officials accountable for fraud and abuse towards all students and hold the UCD police accountable for ignoring such reports.

The president of UC publicly condemn acts of discrimination and work on radically changing this culture within the UC system.

All faculty, administrators, supervisors and staff within the university umbrella are accountable to students. Unfortunately, the Office of Graduate studies has been actively supporting and promoting unfair and unethical actions that favor discrimination. Furthermore, Directors of Student Judicial Affairs have done nothing concretely to protect these students from abuse. With the pepper spraying incident at UCD and more gravely the Penn State incident in our collective memories we should be on guard and ready to speak up for the powerless, against corruption, negligence and intolerance within university walls.

Professors in the Arts who are unable to teach culturally diverse subjects should not be hired. Dedicating less than 1 percent of studies to diversity betrays the demographics of our nation. Furthermore it is shameful that UCD does not have PHD or Masters program in culturally diverse areas.

This is a petition to bring light, support, urgency and encouragement to those graduate students facing discrimination and abuse, particularly from the Dramatic Arts Department, Performance Studies Department and Graduate office. It is also a petition to protest against discrimination and to send a message to the UC officials and all places of learning around the world. No student should tolerate any form of abuse from people in authority within any institution of learning. All students have the right to be treated in a healthy, respectful and in a dignified manner. If you are not qualified to treat a student with respect then you must resign from your position immediately.

We call on all faculty/staff of theater and dance, performance studies, members of the Graduate office, UCD police department who have participated in or done nothing to eradicate discrimination to resign immediately. We seek visible and effective compliance with practice and policies that are there to protect students, strict and swift accountability upon all people of authority and visible change in the culture of discrimination. Change does not entail putting less than one percent of persons of color in roles of authority to silence them. Instead it requires diversity that encourages an equal distribution of student, faculty and staff of all cultural demographics to participate in molding the future of the UC. The UC is a government funded entity that must be accountable to the people.

This petition is spearheaded by several male students of African descent that attend UCD, past and present students of color from the dramatic arts department/ performance studies department who have been assaulted by various forms of hostile treatment and discrimination.

Please spread the link and join the petition to send a message to UC Police Department, Student Judicial Affairs, UC Davis Theater and Dance Department /Performance studies department and Graduate studies office. Support legal consultation through Indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stop-discrimination-at-uc-davis--17/x/395122
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This petition produces error message when signingFix the petitionFriday Apr 26th, 2013 8:33 AM