At a time when words have been used to segregate and isolate, disparage and demean, threaten and attack specific social formations, the UCSB English Department believes it is important to make our commitments explicit. Our core values of fostering dialogue, civic engagement, and social justice compel us to speak out against racist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic, antisemitic, xenophobic, ableist and all other modes of verbal and physical aggression. How we use words matters— as language, as literature, as culture. How we use words makes our world. We will continue to study language in ways that not only acknowledge its potential to cause harm and incite social violence, but also its capacity to recognize historical differences and to work toward redressing the injustices that arise from them.
We are especially concerned at this time for those made vulnerable by the divisive politics of the 2016 election campaign. What began as campaign rhetoric may become policy that violates the rights of some, threatens the lives of others, and compromises our shared environment. In solidarity with educational institutions that offer sanctuary, we commit to protecting our students from a culture of fear, loathing and terror.