At 8 in the morning on Feb. 28, 2019, a student was sent hate messages threatening their life and the lives of several students on campus. The messages sent decried student activists and warned student organizers to “stay away from our president.” Eight hours later, all of the students who were threatened met with administration. During the meeting, students confronted President Lieberman regarding her prior discussions with faculty, alumni, students, and staff where she has demonized students of DCULV and their mission to create an inclusive and equitable environment on campus. President Lieberman then told students to “Not take it personally.”
The following day, one of the students threatened car was vandalized and involved in an arson attack. (“FBI, LVPD investigate hate crimes,” March 8) As the daily survivors of these recent and horrendous hate crimes, we are concerned with the lack of transparency and accountability from the University of La Verne, the city of La Verne, and all of our elected and appointed leaders. This is not the first time we have brought our concerns to the administration or the city. As the University has neglected to provide information to the campus community, we believe it is our duty to inform students about the current situation on campus.
Students on campus (including the students of Decolonize La Verne (#DCULV)) are still receiving threatening messages promising racial and sexual violence. These messages are escalating in their frequency, a number of students targeted, and violence. We do not believe the University of La Verne is equipped to handle the magnitude of the situation, nor have they provided sufficient support to students.
Since March 5, President Lieberman and her executive committee have routinely ignored, rebuffed, and diminished the seriousness of these threats as they have impacted targeted students’ daily lives.
We have even seen members of the community take our trauma to promote their own business and agendas. This type of behavior is appalling and disconcerting to see members of the campus community act in such a demeaning way.
As students pushing for equity and inclusion, we stand by our movement and hope to inspire other students to use their voice to demand action from the University and the city of La Verne. We do not want these incidents to be swept under the rug or forgotten. Our agenda is and has always been to push the institution to create a safe and equitable environment for all students on campus. All students deserve a quality education free of discrimination from educators and administration alike. Students on campus endure prejudice and discrimination from the very people who are hired to support us. Students are promised an environment that values diversity, inclusivity and fosters their personal and professional growth.
We hope that students use these recent events as motivation to use their voice and making a stand against injustice. We will not stop, and we will not be quieted until our voices are heard, because racialized and sexualized threats are personal and must be taken seriously.
Editor’s Note: Decolonize ULV is a student group that describes itself as “a collective and organized group representing students of multiple social identities.”