Letter from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Charles Nies

November 21, 2016

Dear campus community members,

The day following the presidential election, the 10 chancellors and the president of the University issued a statement to underscore our unwavering support for all members of our community in accord with the UC’s Principles Against Intolerance. As the Principles make clear, the University “strives to foster an environment in which all are included” and “all are given an equal opportunity to learn and explore” free of harassment based on immigration status, racial/ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or political views.

Particularly since the election, there have been disturbing reports from across the nation of intimidation, harassment, and, in some cases, violence against individuals and targeted groups. If this has happened to you, or you have witnessed such incidents, I encourage you to file a report with the UC Merced Police Department (209-228-8273) or through our hate/bias reporting site so that these incidents can be thoroughly investigated. Other campus resources include Counseling and Psychological ServicesServices for Undocumented Students and the Office of Ombuds Services.

Many members of our campus community have expressed uncertainty and fear over possible changes to federal immigration policies that may directly affect them and/or their families, as well as the University as a whole. Like the rest of the country, we don’t yet know what policies the incoming administration will adopt. We are in a period of great uncertainty, and during the remaining two months of the current administration, we believe it wise to strategize the best and most effective response to a number of scenarios possible, or probable, under the new administration.

To that end, President Napolitano has convened a task force to consider how best to protect our undocumented students, who are understandably anxious given the heated rhetoric of the presidential campaign. Later this month, she will also meet with undocumented student coordinators throughout the system to ensure that our decisions are informed by their concerns, those of our undocumented students themselves, and any other concerns already identified.

The unequivocal goal of these efforts is to protect all members of our community and ensure their continued success at the University. The working group is moving quickly, and we will keep you posted about its efforts.

In the meantime, let us continue our interactions with one another in the spirit of respect and cooperation. As noted in the Principles Against Intolerance, “(We are) best served when members of the University community collaborate to foster an equal learning environment for all, in which all members of the community are welcomed and confident of their physical safety.”

Best regards,

Charles Nies

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs