To UCSB students:
Hi everyone, I know that the events a few weeks have so many of us have been deeply affected. I wanted to take some time to speak from my heart about what we are all experiencing, both from my experience as a woman of color on this campus and also as your External Vice President.
As a woman of color and as someone who’s been observing the past events in our country, I am scared of what Ben Shapiro’s dialogue will entail for our campus. This isn’t free speech, it’s hate speech, and what we’ve clearly seen recently is that hate speech can and will incite violence. What people don’t realize is that Santa Barbara County is predominantly conservative, and the possibility of outside people coming to our campus is, in my opinion, is extremely dangerous to certain communities. With the rhetoric and dialogue that is circulating our country right now, I think it’s absolutely wrong to bring such a controversial speaker on campus. I stand in solidarity with the communities that feel threatened by this speaker, and I will do everything within my abilities to make sure you all feel safe on this campus.
As EVPSA, I’ll say it clearly and unequivocally: Our students’ fees should NEVER go to people or events that contribute to the marginalization of people and communities. That is something I stand by completely. And this is something I challenge Finance and Business [Committee] to address: comprehensive financial reform and transparency. And this reform can be done in establishing clear guidelines that are set in Regental Policy on this.
In the Regental Policy, specifically Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students (PACAOS), in clause 86.30 it states that there is a case of viewpoint neutrality, but there are no specific guidelines that establish this statement. Right now the terms are extremely open-ended, and they obviously need set guidelines that determine what makes an event legitimate or not to be funded by student fees.
What we need is regental change; I will be working with the access and power that I have to make sure that that is established. But in my own power as an executive of ASUCSB, I want to ensure that I do everything in my jurisdiction to empower communities and ensure that they have the resources to amplify their voices. I ask senators to join me in this process, and with their access to resources on campus and my access to the state-wide policy level, we can come forward with a list of guidelines to add to regental policy. These are hard and trying times.
I know as students, individuals, and leaders, we are all disappointed in our community and country. When they say UCSB is a microcosm of the country, I’d like to think that’s true, with all the diverse representation of communities all over campus. But election night’s results proved to me that UCSB has much more potential than what our country has shown. So in our own space that we have control over, let’s at least try to establish an atmosphere of love and acceptance, so we can move forward with a plan that can better the lives of marginalized communities. Let’s increase talks of policy change when something affects our peers in a negative manner. Because if even if our efforts are not heard nationally, we can still start organizing and changing in our community where we still can.
Neha Nayak is the 2016-2017 External Vice President for Statewide Affairs. Nayak serves as an elected representative for UCSB students’ interests in University of California policy and county, state, and national affairs.