"Campus climate" stands for the overall conditions of safety in the daily lives of all students at Cal.
When a person or group of persons, students, staff or faculty at Cal, puts down, discriminates against, denigrates, harasses, intimidates or mistreats another student or group of students based on already-existing divisions in the wider culture—of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, disability, citizenship status, religious background or other differences—the campus climate for everyone becomes less safe. An act like this counts as an incident of bias—a hate incident. In its more extreme forms, it counts as hate violence.
The spread of actions that have happened at Cal and count as hate violence is wide, including:
- hurtful jokes
- offensive names or stereotypes
- offensive postering
- uninterrupted discrimination or offensive stereotyping in a classroom setting
- ethnic-, race-, religion- or other-based graffiti
- harassment on the street or at living centers
- threatening email or online messaging
- attacks on property
- outright physical attack
Hate incidents like the above become hate crimes when they involve violation of existing criminal laws. E.g. ethnic or gender jokes, even if clearly hurtful speech, are not against the law in most cases, but vandalism and physical attacks related to bias are criminal, count as criminal assaults and can be prosecuted.
In each instance of hate violence, someone is being hurt or injured, even if this is not intended by the person initiating the action. Because such actions reflect wider social divisions, it's likely that the person being targeted has recurring experiences of this mistreatment, with serious longer-term health consequences, ranging from depression to suicide. Just because of the consequences for individuals and the wider campus community, it is important for each of us to continually be aware of the campus climate at Cal.
Analyzing campus climate
What is the climate like for you at Cal?
- Are there incidents of name-calling, taunts, teasing or graffiti inside or outside the classroom or living space, in social media that students use, at social and athletic events, or on or off campus?
- How often and easily do students at Cal intermix by age, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religious background or other differences?
- How easily can students make jokes about those differences, or others about body size, gender, or ability that some would find offensive?
- Do such jokes show up in student publications, student media, or online anonymous comments or graffiti?
- How safe does every student feel speaking up in class? Walking across campus? Stepping off campus after class to go home? At events off-campus or on weekends with other students, such as parties, games, dances or concerts?
What can I do about hate?
If you think you are being the target of hate:
- Trust your thinking: if you think you're being targeted, you probably are.
- Before anything else, make sure you are safe right now, removing yourself from any threatening situation, or contact UCPD at 911 to secure immediate safety.
- Tell someone you trust about what happened or is happening: a best friend, advisor, campus staff or student staff with whom you have contact.
- Get medical and counseling support as needed from Tang or other campus resources; have your trusted friend support you in asking for help.
- Document what happened, keeping a record in writing, with photographs or other media.
- Report to a trusted resource (see below), even if you are just reporting anonymously. If you are being targeted, very likely others are, and your report will help the campus to respond.
- Understand that you are not responsible for and didn't "deserve" the attack.
If someone you know is being targeted by hate?
- Tell someone you trust about what happened or is happening: a best friend, advisor, campus staff or student staff.
- If appropriate and safe for you and the student, approach the student and offer to support them.
- Listen, take them seriously, and support and validate any feelings they may have about being targeted.
- Reassure them that they are not responsible for and didn't "deserve" this action.
- Encourage the student to seek medical or counseling help as needed, and support them in obtaining it.
- Encourage the student to document and report the incident to a trusted resource, even if reporting anonymously (see below).
If you think you have witnessed a hate incident:
- Tell someone—a campus official, staff or student staff—and file an online report (see below). Your report will alert the campus of actual or potential harm to students and will enable us to bring students, staff and faculty together to stop the abuse and strengthen our campus community.
You can anonymously report suspected or actual hate incidents at the following website: http://geneq.berkeley.edu/stophate_form
You can learn more and find out about campus resources for preventing hate crimes at http://geneq.berkeley.edu/hate_crimes_ocr
You can find out about campus programs to build cross-cultural understanding at the website for the Multicultural Education Program in Equity and Inclusion, at http://mep.berkeley.edu/