A Message to History Students
We are aware that many of our students have been distressed and distracted, and in some cases have felt threatened, by some of the rhetoric widely reported in the media during the recent presidential campaign. Some of that rhetoric was widely understood to be disparaging and hostile to immigrants, to people of other than European heritage, to women, to people of various sexual orientations or gender identities, and to members of certain religious communities.
People who fall into these categories constitute a very large proportion of the population of our great state of California—in fact, they constitute the majority here. Some three quarters of our students at the University of California are immigrants or the children of immigrants, are not of European parentage, or are members of the religious communities that were characterized as suspect or untrustworthy in some election rhetoric. At UC Davis, 59 percent are women.
Some events since the election have further heightened the sense among some of our students that they are not welcome, or are somehow problematic, or are in some way under threat.
The History Department supports the First Amendment right of free speech, but we also believe that all students have a right to pursue their educational goals untroubled by fear and anxiety. We recognize, value, and will absolutely safeguard that right. We will be taking appropriate steps to do that in our individual interactions with students, in our classes, in our departments, and in our colleges. We also support the efforts of President Napolitano and the entire UC administration in doing the same.