Dear UC Merced community,
A Twitter account associated with a faculty member included messages that crossed the line established by the Board of Regents in their 2016 Statement of Principles Against Intolerance condemning anti-Semitism and “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism,” and affirming that “acts of discrimination that demean our differences, are antithetical to the values of the university and serve to undermine its purpose.”
The opinions presented in this Twitter account do not represent UC Merced or the University of California. They were abhorrent and repugnant to us and to many of our colleagues and neighbors; they were harmful to our university, our students, and our years of work to build an inclusive and welcoming community.
The Twitter account, now deleted, was called to our attention by the media. We have now confirmed the account was in fact associated with a member of our faculty. The professor’s dean subsequently emailed faculty and staff in the school on Dec. 23 calling the tweets “reprehensible” and affirming that they in no way represent UC Merced. We have called upon the dean and department chair to work with the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel to conduct an inquiry into potential violations of our standards, the UC Faculty Code of Conduct or other policies of the university, to determine what consequences are appropriate.
We have heard from some students who have raised concerns about this faculty member’s online statements about their heritage. These concerns will be addressed through the Offices of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
We are also directing the Office of the Associate Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to develop programming for the spring semester that addresses free speech, hate speech and anti-Semitism in academia and promotes ways to challenge discriminatory insinuations when and wherever they emerge within the university community.
Finally, we remind everyone in our community that we are a public university with a mission of teaching, research and public service, and no aspect of that mission should be undermined — as it has in this instance — because of one person’s personal political, social, cultural or religious views that target others with biases, stereotypes and prejudices.
The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the Division of External Relations will work with the Office of Legal Affairs on policy updates that make clear the rights and the responsibilities of our community members to adhere to all applicable policies and expectations against intolerance, particularly when using social media.
We must not let anti-Semitism or any form of bigotry or hate toward any group take root in the UC Merced community.