July 15, 2020
Re: Answering the Call
To: All campus
July 15, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
We stand on the precipice of history. The words and actions that we commit to today will have a ripple effect that will transform society for future generations. While we have dedicated much of our life’s work to understanding pedagogy through an equity and inclusion lens, the recent petitions for change from members of the UC Merced campus community have brought to light a need for more than just understanding — they have called us to action, and we will answer their call.
We are committed to taking on social injustice at and from UC Merced. Among the many requests submitted by students are calls for reform of the UC Merced Police Department (UCMPD). Chief Chou Her is working diligently with the Pan-Afrikan Council, the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Social Justice Initiatives and Identity Programs to develop specific initiatives, campaigns, and programs addressing anti-Blackness and anti-Black violence.
Many plans are already in the works for this summer, including:
A Commitment to Unlearning Racism and Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
- The university is establishing a Valuing Black Lives at UC Merced Task Force made up of subcommittees of students, staff and faculty. The subcommittees will work with Associate Professor and Academic Senate Chair-elect Robin DeLugan, Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Dania Matos, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Jonathan Grady, and the two of us to ensure accountability measures are in place and progress is made to address the following areas:
- Student Support
- Community Engagement
- Policing and Anti-Black Violence
- Staff and Faculty Recruitment and Retention
- Scholarship, Research and Funding
- Monthly restorative justice talks will be held to address historical trauma, radical healing, and critical hope in collaboration with various stakeholders such as UC Merced's Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibility and the Office of Social Justice Initiatives and Identity Programs.
- Updating the campus community on the status of the 27 recommendations for all UC campus policing units that came out of the 2019 Presidential Task Force on University-wide Policing.
- Sharing Annual UCMPD Customer Satisfaction Survey results (students, staff and faculty) with the campus community and considering and implementing recommendations.
- UCMPD Dispatch, effective immediately, will be sending customer service evaluations to anyone they have contact with and will consider and implement recommendations.
- UCMPD will work with the Office of Student Rights and Responsibility to develop “Know Your Rights” resources for students.
These initial plans are the tip of the iceberg of change that needs to happen at UC Merced and indeed in our nation at large. However, we are inspired by the work that our campus community has done, both in bravely stepping forward to call for change, and in opening our hearts and minds to hear and meet the needs of our fellow students, faculty and staff.
Together, we will answer the calls of this historic moment and begin our journey toward a more equitable and just world for all.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost