Addressing questions and concerns from students
Addressing questions and concerns from students
Margaret Klawunn, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Margaret Klawunn, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Katya Armistead, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Student Life
Katya Armistead, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Student Life
Dear Students, 
We are entering a very busy time in the Fall quarter as you wrap up classes and prepare for final examinations. With the start of final exams just three weeks away, we hope you will be able to connect with family and friends and rest over the Thanksgiving holiday (11/23 and 11/24) before turning your focus to studying hard and making a strong academic finish to the fall quarter.
This list of Academic Support links to several of the most frequently accessed services including academic advising, disability accommodations, study support, and more. Our Student Wellbeing resources also provide several tools to help you manage stress and stay healthy during the high demands of the end of the quarter. If you anticipate needing support of any kind, please reach out sooner than later before a situation becomes unmanageable.
We understand that the war between Israel and Hamas is provoking strong feelings all around the world, and our campus is no exception. Like many of you, we think about this conflict, its broader implications, and the impacts to our campus community every day. By sharing this information and advice, we by no means intend to minimize the impact of these events for any student or community. We are navigating an immensely difficult period together.
While we acknowledge we don’t all experience these events from the same perspective or position, we are keenly aware of the thoughts and feelings many of you have shared: confusion or overwhelm; strong and long-held convictions; intense fear and pain. And we want to be clear that we are hearing this full range of thoughts and feelings from students from virtually all communities – inclusive of the Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, and other communities.
We want to be unequivocal about one thing: you are all our students. You are our students not ‘despite’ your identities and experiences, but inclusive of them. We are dedicated to your personal growth and development as individuals. We care about you. We strive to educate you about and uphold your rights as a member of our campus community; and our role is also to educate you about and enforce your responsibilities as students.
On Bias
The University of California and UC Santa Barbara stand against intolerance, bias, and discrimination. Our strong statements of values – from Regental policy to UCSB’s own Principles of Community – applies to several protected categories. And to be clear, antisemitism and Islamophobia have been, and absolutely remain, completely antithetical to our values as a University. Our stance against antisemitism and Islamophobia are explicitly reflected in our mandatory education for all incoming undergraduate students because these are longstanding values that we take seriously. 
Fostering a campus community free of bias is a collective responsibility borne by faculty, staff, and students. As an educational institution, our primary mode for creating the change we wish to see in the world is through education. For acts of bias that don’t technically violate the law or a University policy, we should work together as a community to educate and inform ourselves and each other, to hold each other accountable through dialogue, and to provide support to impacted parties after an incident of bias. Sometimes the University is able to provide support through alternative resolution strategies, such as restorative justice. For detailed information about bias and bias incidents, including how to report incidents and get support, please visit Bias Incidents (Dean of Students Office).
We have received reports of bias in our community. None of these are acceptable. We are reviewing and responding to these incidents as they are reported. Even if a person expressing bias cannot ultimately be held accountable under the law or the Student Conduct Code, we will respond to address the negative effects bias may have on our community. Some examples of potential bias could include the following: 
  • Assuming a person’s religion based on their race (or ethnicity), color, national origin, ancestry, or citizenship,
    • Or, vice versa, assuming a person’s race (or ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, or citizenship) based on their religion.
  • Calling a person (or group) a derogatory name, or accusing them of a belief or action, based on any real or perceived identity of that person. (In some cases, this may rise to misconduct.) This can happen directly or indirectly, in person or online.
Report Bias
"Can hate speech be prohibited?" 
The term “hate speech” does not have a legal definition in the United States but it often refers to speech that insults or demeans a person or group of people on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability or gender. While the University condemns speech of this kind, there is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment and it is only illegal if it falls into one of the First Amendment exceptions (true threat to physical safety, incitement of illegal activity, or severe and pervasive harassment). In fact, the Supreme Court has explicitly held that prohibitions or punishments for hateful speech violate the First Amendment. However, just because there is a First Amendment right to say something, doesn’t mean that it should be said. The First Amendment protects a right to say hateful things, but as a campus we strive to be a community where no one will choose to express hate. See also: UCSB Campus Regulations on Speech and Advocacy.
On Misconduct
Misconduct is generally defined as any behavior that violates the Student Conduct Code or the law. Beyond academic dishonesty, our campus policies prohibit things like, but not limited to: 
  • Theft.
  • Physical assault and/or direct and credible threats of violence.
  • Intimidation or harassment (severe and/or pervasive conduct).
  • Obstruction of University activities.
  • Failure to comply with directions of a University official.
Below are some examples of misconduct that, if reported to the University, would be reviewed and considered for investigation and possible disciplinary sanctioning: 
  • Defacement, vandalization, or removal (theft) of a University-approved display or exhibit.
  • Obstruction of University activities through civil disobedience that prevents others from engaging in the functions of the University.
Please keep in mind that the proceedings and outcomes of most University investigations are confidential due to Federal privacy protections. While we take all reports seriously, even when we carry out significant investigations, and even when sanctions are imposed, we are often not able to disclose this information to the public. In certain instances, we may be able to provide some information to directly impacted parties. 
Report Misconduct to the University
Contact UCPD (on campus)
Contact Foot Patrol (Isla Vista)
“Where can I report concerns about faculty, instructor, or TA conduct?"
If you are concerned about the conduct of a TA, instructor, or faculty, and you do not feel comfortable speaking with, or have already spoken with, the individual, we recommend:
The Student Grievance Procedure generally outlines procedures for responding to student allegations of discrimination by staff or faculty and you are welcome to contact for clarification of where to report concerns or grievances. 
On Free Expression or "Free Speech"
As a public university with a long and strong history of protecting free speech (with a legally required content-neutral approach to all parties and perspectives), we remain committed to that value as a central tenet of our academic community. This is not only central to meaningful and relevant academic discourse, it is also essential to ensuring that free speech protections are not eroded over time or applied unequally to different groups or perspectives. 
We expect UCSB community members to consider the impact of speech on others and to remain mindful of our inclusive campus where we learn from and value others’ perspectives (this is an appeal to your care for and respect for others, see On Bias above). 
Non-violent demonstration and protest, have a long history at UCSB as part of a campus culture where free expression is carefully protected. This is not an excuse to interrupt activities and business on campus. Disruption of teaching or University activities is a violation of the Student Conduct Code and may result in formal discipline
Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions. The right to speak on campus is not a right to speak any time, at any place and in any manner that a person wishes. The University can impose viewpoint-neutral “time, place, and manner” restrictions which ensure that speech occurs in a way that does not disrupt the campus’ educational mission or endanger public safety. The University has developed rules and regulations related to protest that are designed to prevent substantial disruption of educational activities, protect lawful access to campus programs and facilities, avoid unsafe behavior, and prevent the destruction of property. See also: Campus Regulations on Speech and Advocacy.
Free Speech Primer from Gaucho FYI
"I saw it on social media. Why didn't the University respond?" 
We often hear general references to potential misconduct, whether in-person or online, and receive questions about whether the University responded. In a significant number of these cases, we are not aware of the original incident because it was not reported to the University. Without a report, we often do not have access to the allegedly violative material. If you want to ensure that the University reviews an incident that concerns you, please make a bias or conduct report as described above.
We care – and it’s personal.
In recent weeks, and as is always our practice, Student Affairs staff have attended events hosted by campus organizations, including vigils, demonstrations (as neutral observers), discussions, and other community events. We do this to show that we have sincere compassion and care for all of our students; to hear more about our students’ experiences and concerns; and to serve as part of our campus-wide efforts to keep our community safe.
We also have a team of Student Affairs professionals who attend events to witness demonstrations and protest, help advise students and event hosts of their rights and responsibilities, and serve as a first line of communication before law enforcement intervention. These staff do not take over event host responsibilities and do not conduct live enforcement of University policies, but they can refer you to appropriate University officials and/or connect you directly with law enforcement to report anything of concern that you directly observed.
We hope that you can find some reassurance in how seriously we take the safety of our campus community in the fact that we quite literally stand alongside you during some of your most difficult, tense, and vulnerable moments.
We will continue to share information and resources periodically. In the meantime, you are always welcome to reach out to with questions, concerns, or suggestions, especially regarding how students, staff, and faculty can work together to support student communities and ensure a safe and civil campus climate.
Thank you for being part of the UC Santa Barbara community. Sincerely,
Margaret Klawunn, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Katya Armistead, Assistant Vice Chancellor/Dean of Student Life 
P.S. Campus officials have written on a few occasions about these issues and if you have not yet had a chance to read those messages, we hope you will review them and encourage your friends to do the same.
  • Welcome and Reminders from Student Affairs (10/3), including our values and expectations regarding campus safety, anti-discrimination, free expression, and related matters, as well as numerous campus resources.
  • Individual outreach on October 10th to the students whose address and student records indicate they might be personally impacted as residents of the region, including social work and financial support information. 
  • The Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor sent a memo to campus expressing compassionate concern and providing resources on 10/10.
  • Campus resources in light of horrific violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel (10/18), reiterating our campus rules and expectations, and also providing campus safety and support resources.
  • Several senior administrators send a reminder of our campus Principles of Community and addressing freedom of speech, academic freedom, and related rights and responsibilities on 10/26.
  • The University of California President and the 10 campus Chancellors sent a Statement on Intolerance of Campus Bigotry on 11/10.
Wellbeing Resources
As is always the case, if you are in need of support or know someone who is, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here for all students in need of solace and offer support without judgment. offers a comprehensive list of resources here to support you. Please also remember that Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to you at no cost, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 805-893-4411 (press 2 to speak with a clinician).
Student Mental Health Coordination Services offers help to students seeking to get connected with services and students wanting to help other students get connected to services. Simply submit a referral and the student will receive outreach from one of the caring and knowledgeable coordinators.
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