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Islamophobia and Hate at UCSC in Light of the NZ Terrorist Attack
by End Racism at UCSC
Wednesday Mar 20th, 2019 6:43 PM
I am one of the students that was called a “terrorist” among other terrible things by a BSOE professor on countless occasions due to my appearance and Palestinian, Muslim heritage. Right at the top, I want to express my deepest gratitude to those who signed the petition demanding UCSC take action in this matter. Your support has given both the other complainant and I tremendous inner-strength. It has helped me claw back some of my humanity, and I genuinely cannot thank you enough.
I have felt profoundly affected by Friday’s white supremacist terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, and those lost remain in my thoughts. It hurts me to my core that a UCSC professor enjoyed labeling me with the same title this murderer earned. The New Zealand tragedy is a too real demonstration of the danger posed by Islamophobic hate speech and bigotry we Muslims face all too often. Unfortunately, in the time of “Muslim Bans”, Islamophobic hate has become normalized/tolerated even to the point where two UCSC professors observed me being called a “terrorist” on separate occasions (one as far back as September 2017) and to the extent of my knowledge never thought such hate speech important enough to report to UCSC administration. We students need to support and defend each other since the university and its faculty have not. If you see hate speech, Islamophobic or otherwise, on campus or elsewhere, I beg you to speak up. The victims of such disgusting language may feel powerless to defend themselves fearing retaliation (as I did). Know that your words and actions could help liberate a fellow human from a prison of abuse and humiliation. If someone had done that in my case, maybe I would not have had to leave UCSC.

I saw Chancellor Blumenthal’s email on Friday and Dean Wolf’s email a couple of weeks back. I want to give you all a bit more background to put these emails in context. I pray Chancellor Blumenthal’s future actions live up to the laudable sentiments his email expressed. However, when I wrote multiple emails to Chancellor Blumenthal a couple of months ago asking to meet with him to discuss my experiences and how these dehumanizing slurs traumatized me, the chancellor did not even reply. Since Chancellor Blumenthal wants to prevent Islamophobia and right the wrongs that have been done, it would have been my expectation that the chancellor would be eager to hear personally from those who endured prolonged hate on his watch. While I applaud and encourage any action tackling hate, I do not understand why it has taken UCSC so long to act. I personally informed the dean of the BSOE Alexander Wolf in writing of this professor’s Islamophobic hate speech in August 2018. In December 2018, a second student again personally confirmed many of my allegations to Dean Wolf. However, UCSC is only now scheduling student interviews with an investigator – more than six months after senior UCSC administration was fully aware what had and was continuing to happen. I hope UCSC will make the students called these slurs key members of its process to improve the situation of Muslim students on campus and help restore the lost trust.

The following words are excruciating for me to write, but I could not in good conscience recommend UCSC to Muslim or Middle Eastern students. I am not confident UCSC’s administration or faculty will act decisively in cases of similar bigotry, in particular if they allow this professor back on campus. I do not want to see anyone else experience what I or the other student reported. Given what this professor is also alleged to have said about female students and women in general (much of which is not yet public), I do not believe UCSC’s computer science department is a safe space for women either.

If the mods want to confirm my identity, they can message me. I will not address any questions of which faculty committed these acts. I also am immensely saddened that an innocent professor’s name was maligned in a previous thread, and I ask that not be repeated again.

If I can assist anyone going through similar experiences of hate or if you feel just having someone to talk to may help you heal, do not hesitate to message me privately.


[Originally posted to: https://www.reddit.com/r/UCSC/comments/b2ap2j/islamophobia_and_hate_at_ucsc_in_light_of_the_nz/ (deleted)
Reposted to: https://www.reddit.com/user/EndRacismAtUcsc/comments/b2g0wo/islamophobia_and_hate_at_ucsc_in_light_of_the_nz/]
We have recently learned of UCSC’s failure to investigate an official complaint about a professor in the Baskin School of Engineering. On multiple occasions, this professor has called a student of Muslim and Arab background a “terrorist,” among other racial slurs; repeatedly made inappropriate comments about both his and his students’ genitalia and sexual histories; created a hostile work environment by frequently using abusive and demeaning language; and publicly implied that he would not advise female students after the Brett Kavanaugh trial. We also have heard allegations of racialized pay discrimination among the professor’s students.
The student followed all the institutional avenues available to them, to inform the administration about the professor’s abusive behavior. But to date, no investigator has contacted the student in the six months since the filing of the official complaint.

This speaks to a larger culture of tolerance for discrimination in the School of Engineering and other disciplines and departments on the UCSC campus. Many of the professor’s transgressions occurred in front of other students and faculty members, who both failed to intervene in abusive situations or report them to the administration. We have heard testimonies alleging that this professor made derogatory and discriminatory statements against multiple students for over a year.

UCSC has historically failed to keep students safe when they follow what is ostensibly the “appropriate” procedure for reporting faculty misconduct. Students fear retaliation, or their complaints not being investigated by the administration. The UAW-2865 contract (Article 13) requires that the University provides students with a safe working environment. The University is in violation of our contract by neglecting to investigate instances of racism and sexism perpetuated against their students.

We demand that the University rectifies this violation and properly investigates cases of faculty misconduct.


Sign the petition here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdOtZS0VFIvjMX-oRWnFzegv670hD1QM8IWMPhGwgGZRDyMXg/viewform

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