Editor, Daily Nexus,
I am writing this open letter of apology on behalf of the UCSB Athletic Dept. in response to an incident that occurred last Saturday night in the Thunderdome. At our men’s basketball game against Long Beach State, a student organization external to our department distributed T-shirts that displayed a top-10 list of why our beach is better than Long Beach.
The list was supposed to be a humorous jab at our competitors from Long Beach, but far from the tradition of friendly rivalry, some of the items on the list were insulting and offensive, attacking the Long Beach community on the basis of race and class stereotypes. I was personally offended and I know others were as well. Neither I nor my colleagues in the Athletic Dept. condone this kind of fan behavior. Inappropriate and harmful stereotyping has absolutely no place in our department, on our campus or in sports.
We have enjoyed a long history of hard-fought but respectful competition with Long Bach State. We value this rich rivalry and we deeply regret that this incident has tarnished our relationship with that campus. For our part, we pledge to use this unfortunate incident to work with our student fans, particularly with the group in question, to help them understand the hurtful nature of these stereotypes and to establish and promote a clear standard of appropriate behavior for Gaucho supporters.
Again, I apologize to both the Long Beach and Santa Barbara campuses and to the surrounding communities. I promise to do all I can to uphold the high standards of UCSB athletics.