July 31st, 2007

wage peace

multicultural awareness

Multiculturalism is about creating a space where people not only have the freedom to celebrate their differences, but also are not forced to sacrifice full inclusion in their community because of those differences. Unfortunately this important principle is often not applied when it comes to the topic of religious diversity. This year UC campuses have placed the freshman move-in date on one of the holiest days of the year for Jews, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement; a day on which observant Jews do not eat, drink, or work. The housing offices have stated that they will make provisions for observant students to move in a day early so as to not violate their observance of this holiday, but this isn’t good enough. It is not enough to merely create an “alternative move-in day”. This sends the message that community inclusion is something for those who fit a predefined mold, rather than working to find ways to end separation based on religion.
Important campus dates should be scheduled on neutral days that do not require students to make special arrangements on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation in order to participate. I am asking you to send a message to the administration of UCSC and the UC system by doing three things today. 1) Read this message (great work already!) 2) Tell as many UCSC and other UC students as possible about this 3) If you will be living on campus this year, contact your campus housing office and request the alternative move-in day on the grounds of observance of Yom Kippur. Together we can send a message that a commitment to multiculturalism and diversity on campus is about more than just college programming, it is about inclusion and respect for the beliefs and practices of all students in both language and action. Thank you!