UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ publicly responded to the events surrounding the recent shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio, in a Monday statement.
In her response, Christ mourned the victims of the three shootings, offered condolences to those affected and advocated for the UC Berkeley community to stand together against discrimination and gun violence.
“We cannot and must not, turn a blind eye to emerging evidence suggesting that at least one of these despicable acts was motivated by hatred and loathing for immigrants,” Christ said in the statement. “Now, more than ever, we must demand concrete steps to remove weapons of war from our midst. … We must unite and confront with determination and resolve the forces of hatred, intolerance and division.”
The “hatred and loathing for immigrants” that Christ mentions acts as a reference to the four-page manifesto against immigration that was published online by the El Paso suspect before he killed 22 people in a Walmart on Saturday. The manifesto targeted Latinx people and included a clause claiming the attack was in response to a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
Christ also upheld UC Berkeley’s Principles of Community in her statement, stating that students on campus must “unite in support of each other.” These principles include eliminating discrimination and hate from campus, ensuring freedom of speech for the campus’s varied communities and actively addressing issues in the local and global communities.
As for California’s enforcement of gun laws for colleges and universities, there are already “very strict laws about guns on campuses,” according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof. In 2017, after the California State Assembly passed AB 424, an extension of the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, the state of California prohibited guns on any college or university campus.
UC Berkeley sophomore Minjoo Kim shared her perspective on the shootings and California gun laws.
“These shooting events honestly make me scared that something like this is going to happen on campus, although I’m glad that California is enforcing stricter gun laws for universities,” Kim said.
Kim also stated that she found the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting “shocking” because she never expected any shootings to be so close to San Francisco, one of the most politically liberal cities in the United States.
Christ recommended that students affected by the shootings reach out to the dean of students at [email protected] for help navigating campus resources such as counseling. Faculty and staff affected, she said in the statement, can make use of the Employee Assistance program.
“Now, more than ever, we must as a campus community unite in support of each other, and our Principles of Community, in order to embrace and model the values we share and hold dear,” Christ said in the statement.
Contact Selena Liu at [email protected].