Adela de la Torre, vice chancellor, Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, joined by Mariah Watson, the ASUCD’s outgoing president, and Anthony Palmere, Unitrans general manager, issued this letter to the campus community on March 4, addressing an incident that occurred earlier in the week on a Unitrans bus.
Dear UC Davis Community:
On Tuesday, while riding Unitrans, a recent UC Davis graduate who is African American was verbally assaulted with hate speech. In a video posted online, the victim describes the assaulter as an elderly African American male.
We are disgusted by the behavior demonstrated by the assaulter and upset that yet another act of hatred has taken place in our community.
We also are disheartened by the African American victim's statement that no one on the bus intervened while he endured a tirade of racially motivated and hateful words for several minutes. Eventually, the Unitrans bus driver asked the assaulter to discontinue his behavior or leave the bus.
The fact that both the accused and the victim are from the same racial background does not lessen the impact or inexcusability of this assault. We commend the victim for remaining peaceful and compassionate even while being attacked. The victim says he decided not to report the incident to campus police. However, the assaulter was later arrested for public intoxication after targeting a Chicano/Latino Unitrans driver and several other students.
When we each chose to be part of the UC Davis community, we inherently chose to uphold and protect the values expressed in our Principles of Community.
We are all responsible for creating an environment where it's undeniably clear that hateful behavior will not be tolerated. We stand firm on the belief that hate or bias toward even one member of our community is an affront to all of us.
ASUCD and Student Affairs will be working together to revisit the training of our Unitrans bus drivers and to discuss ways to encourage and empower our entire community to be upstanders who intervene on behalf of others whenever it's safe to do so.
Adela de la Torre
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity
Outgoing President, ASUCD
Unitrans General Manager