Several sociology, political science, global studies and environmental studies graduate students at UC Santa Barbara released a statement on April 4 regarding an incident of anti-Semitism that took place two days prior, labeling the incident as a “terrorist act.”
The statement alleges that on the morning of April 2, a man was seen walking “the hallways of the UCSB Sociology department wearing a ‘Waffen SS’ (Nazi death squad) t-shirt.”
Law enforcement was contacted immediately after the individual was seen by a graduate student who reported the individual walking through the building, according to the statement. The statement also noted that department staff and campus security were made aware of the incident around the same time.
The man was not apprehended and disappeared before law enforcement arrived, according to the statement.
The statement was signed by Marisa D. Salinas, Zachary King, Ben Manski, Oscar Soto, David Feldman, William Haywood Carey, Ryan J. Fisher, Shawn Van Valkenburgh, Amanda Pinheiro, Sarah Manski, Andrew Johnson, Elliott Finn and Mariah Brennan Clegg.
UCSB spokesperson Andrea Estrada said the university is currently “aware of reports of someone wearing the ‘Waffen SS’ logo” and that an investigation followed the initial report, although no one was apprehended.
Another incident where anti-semitic flyers were posted “on cars and buildings surrounding the residences of Jewish students in Isla Vista” occurred only two days earlier, according to the statement.
UCSB Associated Students (A.S.) Senate released a formal statement regarding the flyers, denouncing it as “extremely derogatory” and “obscenely misrepresentative of Jewish people.”
“We call upon the UCSB student body to actively stand in solidarity with our Jewish community by spreading awareness and education about anti-Semitism, and to quickly report any concering behavior,” the A.S. statement read.
UCSB graduate students echoed the sentiments of the statement published by A.S.
The graduate students’ statement encouraged “immediate preventative action,” labeling such incidents as part of “an ever-growing tide of terrorist threats against students, staff, and faculty both here and at campuses across the United States.”
The statement expressed a need for change through a demand for “Nazi symbols” to be considered a terrorist act.
“We insist that campus and union officials publicly recognize that the act of (uncritically) displaying Nazi symbols is a terrorist act,” the statement added. “Posting violent threats to Jews is racial terrorism that must not be tolerated anywhere, including our campus community.”
The statement acknowledged that campus security and department personnel have previously told students to report any “potentially threatening behaviors,” but noted that “there has yet to be any wide announcement to the campus community of the calculated dissemination of Nazi materials or of the sighting of Nazi apparel on campus.”
Additionally, the statement justified its call for action, claiming that “such a warning and a call for action is necessary not only because students, staff, and faculty already vulnerable to violence have a right to know about potential threats… but more so because it is a certainty that someone in the broader community knows the person or persons making these terrorist threats.”
The statement said there should be an institutional response centered on the well being and safety of UCSB students and employees.
An institutional response would have “the potential to prevent or at least minimize the severity of any future attack,” according to the statement.
The statement in full can be viewed below: