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February 22, 2019

Dear Chancellor Yang,

Brooke and I are writing to you in light of recent troubling statements elicited by Associate Vice Chancellor Dr. Maria Herrera Sobek. You might be aware of a directional resolution the ASUCSB Senate passed last week in regard to this topic, and they have directed us to submit a letter to you by this week. Please find this resolution attached to this email message. We have met with the Senators who authored and advanced this resolution, as well as the UCSB BSU Black Demands Team. As a reflection of their experiences, we highlight that AVC Sobek’s statements accentuate a culture of anti-blackness that runs rampant throughout the UCSB community, faculty, and administration. The experience of the UCSB BSU Black Demands Team, in particular, is that her statements also demonstrate the necessity for an audit, evaluation, and improvement of the diversity and anti-bias trainings that faculty and administration undergo. It is particularly perplexing to our students that this request/need for an evaluation of training on these topics is necessary even for those in our campus community that have achieved so many milestones in the last fifty years in regards to ethnic studies. To be clear, we want to place emphasis on the fact that there is a culture of anti-blackness on this campus, which is why students from the BSU have endeavored, with your administration’s help, to enhance the diversity and inclusion of the university’s faculty, staff and student admissions. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it is nothing new that Black students frequently face anti-blackness both explicitly and in various forms of microaggressions. Black students have continuously carried the burden on their own shoulders to demand more resources from the University to assist in their academic success and fight for equality. It is time for the UCSB administration to fully commit to the needs and demands of our valued black community.

Particularly because there is a long time commitment by students to help the university, and by your administration to help students enhance the university community, we believe that their efforts to establish an Office of Black Student Development must be recognized and implemented. If this Office were created, we hope and believe that the efforts required by Black students to advance and shoulder their own equity would be lessened. Because we are joining the efforts of the UCSB BSU Demands Team and the ASUCSB Senate in supporting the establishment of this office, we also want to offer to help fundraise on its (this project’s) behalf. In doing so, we stand in solidarity with the Black community and support their demands to establish an Office of Black Student Development and the immediate creation and appointment of the Director of Black Student Development.

As stated in the resolution passed by the Associated Student’s 69th Senate, “This position will be vital for the assurance of holding the entire University accountable to Black students and Black student development, as well as ensuring that intervention from Black students will not be the only way that the University will choose to proactively tend to the needs of Black Students.” We are aware of continuing negotiations between yourself and the UCSB BSU Demands team, and implore you to allocate available and projected funds towards the creation, establishment, and development of the Office of Black Student Development in accordance with all ramifications outlined in the A.S. Senate’s Resolution in Support of
the 2019 UCSB BSU Demands Team.

The Associated Students Office of the President and the Associated Students Executive Director acknowledge, appreciate, and thank the BSU Demands Team for their undying dedication, persistence, and commitment to uplifting Black students, as well as bettering this campus for current and future Black Students. We remain allies of the Black community and encourage that you fulfill all of their demands in order to demonstrate your continued allyship as well.

Sincerely,

Brooke Kopel
President | Associated Students UCSB

Marisela Márquez, Ph.D.,
Executive Director | Associated Students UCSB