Dear Chancellor Katehi,
We are writing to express our support for the Associated Students of UC Davis divestment resolution that passed last Thursday night, and our dismay at your administration’s public condemnation of it. UC Davis now joins the majority of UC campuses, representing tens of thousands of students, as well as UAW Local 2865, which represents over thirteen thousand UC student workers, TAs, GSIs, Readers, and Tutors, who have all passed resolutions to divest from corporations that support and are complicit with Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
We congratulate UC Davis students for opposing racism by voting for divestment. We salute their efforts and persistent display of resilience despite years of censorship, alienation, and criminalization on campus. And we hold your administration, along with previous UC administrations, accountable for the repression and criminalization of such student movements.
Given the UC’s supposed commitment to confronting and rejecting “all manifestations of discrimination,” your administration should be equally proud of this vote calling for global justice and “the inherent dignity of all.” As Arabs dedicated to social justice for all oppressed communities, we support all student efforts in challenging your administration until UC Davis maintain a strong, clear, and principled line of support for student activism, academic freedom and on matters of justice and equity. Yet, we recognize that the UC administration interests do not align with that of the majority of the student population. For communities of color and student activists are consistently reminded that UC Davis administration stands on the side of power, profit, and the police.
As Chancellor, your administration, specifically, has a long history of repression, from calling in the police that infamouslypepper sprayed seated students, to bringing retroactive charges against 11 students and a professor who protested the U.S. Bank on campus. You even played a role in bringing police back onto university campuses in your home country of Greece, where police were disallowed since 1974 because of their role in suppressing student dissent. More recently, you forwarded an email you received from the Zionist and racist ADL to the upper UCD administration and police, which called for increased security and “discipline” as a response to pro-Palestinian activities on campus. Let us also not forget your appointment to an FBI advisory board.
A statement released by your administration immediately following the divestment vote falls perfectly in line with this repressive history. The statement suggests that UCD values a diverse community, with “research programs across the globe” and “a community of faculty, researchers and students from everywhere in the world.” Yet the rights of Palestinians are made invisible and UC Davis continues to collaborate with Apartheid Israel despite the fact that it stifles education and freedom for Palestinians.
Your administration’s idea of democratic process does not respect the decision reached by its very own students when that decision challenges the corporate interests of the UC system. It disregards the diverse grassroots student movement that voted against racism. As was and remains clear by the turn out in favor of passing the divestment resolution, Palestine is a global struggle for all people who stand on the side of justice. Students, faculty and workers of all races and backgrounds have expressed unwavering support for this effort.
The administration’s disregard for the passing of the resolution as a victory confirms that UCD policies and practices contradict rhetorical claims of creating a diverse community in which all peoples are valued. And your historic actions contradict your calls for civility. For indeed, you have shown us time and time again, that you are committed to supporting state violence on campus in order to crush student protest.
On the other hand, the divestment resolution passed by UC Davis students champions the rights and struggle of Palestinians who have endured displacement, ethnic cleansing, and violence by decades of Israeli occupation. Their resolution aligns with a global movement of students and countless others who have chosen to challenge complicity with Israel’s apartheid policies and war crimes.
UC Davis students have made history. They join millions who call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions to achieve freedom, justice, and self-determination for the Palestinian people. They build on the history of social movements that have long struggled for liberation here and everywhere.
Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Chapter
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
Students for Justice in Palestine, University of California Berkeley (CAL-SJP)
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, San Francisco Bay Area (ANSWER)
Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
National Lawyers Guild (NLG) San Francisco Bay Area Chapter