TO: SSU Faculty, Staff, Students
FR: Karen Moranski, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Jerlena Griffin-Desta, Chief of Staff & Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & Diversity
On May 2, 2022, the Sonoma State University Police Department notified the campus community that they are investigating a possible hate crime and vandalism incident. University staff located a BBQ grill that had been pushed into the pool, with the loose end of a rope “fashioned into a noose,” according to the UPD Crime Bulletin. On May 12, 2022, UPD was notified of another noose, this time hanging in a Salazar Hall classroom, and an additional investigation is underway.
Two nooses in two weeks are not a coincidence. And while UPD continues to investigate, we want to reiterate that such vile gestures of hate and intolerance have no place on our campus or in our campus or local communities. The noose, in particular, has a long history signaling lawless violence and torture of Black Americans throughout this country, and echoes as a threat to a community already subjected to centuries of police and extrajudicial violence, slavery, segregation, daily microaggressions, and incidents of unconscious bias. Unfortunately, nooses on university campuses are far too common. Stanford University is currently investigating its third noose on campus in three years, and a University of San Francisco student placed a noose on his residence balcony just last year.
While the noose as commonly displayed in public spaces is an unequivocal symbol of hate and violence, so must our response be unequivocal: we condemn all acts of hatred and intolerance at Sonoma State, and if the current incident is deemed to be a hate crime, we will proceed with every avenue afforded to us by according to University policy and legal mandates. As always, it is our hope that this community remains focused on learning, inclusion, and modeling positive civic leadership.
Additionally, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, the HUB Cultural Center will host “CommUnity Walk: Hate Has No Place Here” for students, staff, and faculty who want to show public support for diversity, equity, inclusion, and human dignity. Participants will meet at the HUB, on the second floor of the Student Center. Please contact Tramaine Austin-Dillon with any questions, either by email (email@example.com), or by phone: (707) 664-2316.
If you have never felt unsafe in a public space, especially a university campus, you may not understand how demoralizing and triggering an incident like this can be. That is understandable. But we would ask that you help our campus community by being attentive to what is happening around you; reporting any incident of bias you may witness or be subjected to; and remaining conscientious about your own words and actions. And should you have any pertinent information about the incidents the police department is investigating, please contact them at (707) 664-4444.
Thank you to those who continue to honor the Seawolf Commitment to integrity, respect, excellence, and responsibility.