A moral imperative to take strong action against bigotry and hate
Cecil Canton, CFA Associate Vice President-Affirmative Action

Remarks made to the Educational Policy Committee of the CSU Board of Trustees, November 7, 2017

When I was a boy, my father told me that “fear is the father of respect!” Yet fear also is the motivator that envelopes us and animates our hate, bigotry discrimination and need to oppress.

Recent events at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, show us once again how close to rending is our social fabric. White supremacy, white nationalism, and neo-Nazism have resurfaced and come to dominate our discourse.

And yet, the statements that have been issued by the campus presidents do not rise to that challenge. They have for the most part been inadequate, if issued at all.

And now DACA is under threat. And this attack on immigrant rights is deeply rooted in white supremacy and xenophobia.

However, when you fail to address the existential threats seeking to undermine the progress we have made in the post-civil rights era and to divide and destroy our campus communities, you hardly inspire confidence among our students, staff and faculty regarding your commitment or ability to maintain the order, safely and security necessary for a safe working and learning environment.

You must start by naming  the problem and calling it what it is: white supremacy, white nationalism and neo-Nazism. 

If you can’t name it, you can’t tame it!

If you won’t name it, you won’t tame it!

Following are some concrete actions you can take in addition to naming the problem:

  • Publicize the CSU’s role in the California Attorney General’s law suit against the Trump Administration over ending the DACA program.
  • Devote campus funds to assist DACA Students, and implement AB 21 ahead of schedule.
  • Increase counseling centers resources to assist students harmed by hate on campus.
  • Make sure that food banks are stocked and open for extended hours.
  • Mandate anti-racism training for campus police.
  • Work with campus communities to create clear and transparent protocols for when hate groups come to campus. 
  • Engage in complex discussions of what free speech means on campus.
  • Acknowledge that protecting students is more important that following unjust laws, and certainly more important than avoiding lawsuits and that the CSU  may have a moral imperative to act accordingly.

Finally, the CSU can raise its voice against the FBI’s “Black Identity Extremist” classification that conflates Black political activists and organizers with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations that pose actual threats to law enforcement.

As leaders of the CSU you must be brave and stand up for all members of our campus communities. Otherwise your fear won’t engender respect, only disappointment!

Thank you.