At the UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, multiple measures were announced to address safety concerns following the escalation of the Israel-Hamas war.
This comes after a month of continuous protests across UC campuses — including UC Berkeley — and widespread safety concerns facing Israeli and Palestinian communities such as doxxing, online harassment and verbal altercations during protests.
In a universitywide statement released and shared during the meeting, UC President Michael Drake noted steps his office is taking to address the violence on campuses. He noted the importance of a cohesive response through communication with the university’s systemwide director of community safety.
He also announced the creation of the Systemwide Office of Civil Rights, which will encompass anti-discrimination and disability rights offices.
In addition to the establishment of the office, the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, budget will allocate a total of $7 million for UC campuses: $3 million will go to emergency mental health resources for students and staff, and $2 million will be to develop educational programs informing public discourse, with focuses including antisemitism, Islamophobia and “viewpoint-neutral” perspectives of Middle Eastern history.
The remaining $2 million will be allocated to provide guidance for educators on their responses when campus issues arise.
During the board meeting, UC Board of Regents Chair Rich Leib also acknowledged the fear and lack of safety many students, faculty and staff feel on UC campuses. He urged chancellors to take action regarding misconduct and safety concerns.
“It is not okay for our students to fear for their safety on our campuses and bear no response from campus leaders,” Leib said. “When hate speech crosses the line and includes true threats, incitement and harassment then we need to not only call it out but take disciplinary action.”
The actions Leib mentioned include creating “necessary resources” for Arab, Muslim and Jewish students and staff, as well as enforcing discipline when conduct violations occur.
He emphasized the importance of investigations and carrying out disciplinary actions when “credible allegations” arise.
Following this announcement, the UCOP and Board of Regents join UC Berkeley’s efforts to mitigate violence and increase safety across UC campuses.
“Today we are doubling down on who we are: an educational institution that’s guided by facts and data, but also a moral compass that helps us find our way to compassion and understanding in difficult moments,” Drake said. “Members of my leadership team will immediately begin to work with campuses to implement these steps, and we will keep the board updated on our progress.”