UC Santa Cruz is an institution that recognizes—and cherishes—diverse opinions, disciplines, and backgrounds. This commitment is enshrined in our Principles of Community, which call for mutual respect and celebration of diversity.

We Banana Slugs speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog, and many other languages. Our ancestors, and some members of our community, come from every part of the globe.

In our uncertain political landscape, I am proud to be part of the University of California system, which has doubled down on its commitment to the privacy and civil rights of our scholars, including our undocumented students.

For us, education—a strong driver of social mobility—is the primary goal, and with that comes growth and opportunity that ripples outward.

I can tell you, without reservation, that we at UC Santa Cruz will continue to hold our doors open wide to “pioneer students” who are the first in their families to attend a four-year college.

We will continue to make university access available to California students through scholarships, institutional grants, loans, and Cal Grants.

As the interim campus provost/executive vice chancellor, I am grateful to live and work in a community that will not divulge confidential student records without judicial warrant, or cooperate with any federal registry based on religion.

Like many of you, I have read the disturbing recent news reports about people of color, members of the LGBT community, and people of faith facing harassment and intimidation, possibly in response to our current political climate. Such behavior is at odds with our core principles and values, and we must speak out against it.

No one is quite sure what will happen in the coming years. But as we move into 2017, let’s keep the dialogue moving forward. Let us not be fearful. Let us stand strong in the face of those who would try to undermine our community, our values, and the progress we’ve fought so hard to make.

Herbie Lee is the UC Santa Cruz interim campus provost/executive vice chancellor. Newly appointed CP/EVC Marlene Tromp starts June 1.

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