There are no words to describe the anger and sadness I feel about the Zoombombing of the People’s Caucus meeting on Saturday. Planned with all the best of intentions for the future of our university community as a whole, the moment was taken over by interlopers who attacked student participants with their horrifying, racist behavior. While students on the Zoom call were the direct targets of this attack, this is a broad attack on our values and the community we aspire to create.
It is unacceptable that these kinds of events continue to happen and make many feel unsafe. That many of you chose to seek support from friends and university staff members, and to write an op-ed to the Daily, is a testament to your determination to eradicate white supremacy and bigotry. I want you to know I am in this fight with you. A Stanford education cannot be truly accessible to all until we can end racism, antisemitism and all forms of hatred on our campus, and in our world. These types of racist intrusions seek to tear us apart. We cannot let them distract us from our shared commitment to a truly just society for all.
I know that for many of you, there is this question: “Will there be justice?” University Information Technology (UIT) is investigating, seeking to identify the people responsible for these horrible acts. My student affairs colleagues and I will do everything in our power to ensure that any and all evidence uncovered by UIT is forwarded to the Office of Community Standards, if the evidence suggests the perpetrators are Stanford students, and/or the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for further action. I encourage anyone with further information to contact DPS.
We have heard you loud and clear, and we will work to improve our Acts of Intolerance process. I have charged our new Associate Vice Provost for Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning, Emelyn dela Peña, with working together with students, faculty and staff to review our Acts of Intolerance protocol. At the same time, I am doing all I can to support our Centers for Equity, Community and Leadership, Counseling and Psychological Services, Well-Being at Stanford, the Weiland Health Initiative and many other offices and colleagues that support our work. I would like to thank in particular the Black Community Services Center for immediately responding to those of you who called in for help on Saturday as this event was occurring.
You are here to learn, grow, and thrive, by following your aspirations and dreams. Saturday’s meeting should have been a great moment for all participants. I join you in deep anger that this did not occur. I recognize that racial hatred has been a problem in our society since its founding. Yet, I cannot let my disappointment and anger at our present state prevent me from pursuing all the things we can do to move our campus forward, and I am grateful for your commitment to do the same.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs