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Chancellor Berdahl condemns apparent hate crime

An open letter to the Berkeley campus community:

I have learned that on Thursday evening (Sept. 16), eight UC Berkeley students, all Muslim women, including three wearing head scarves, were confronted by a threatening incident that UCPD is investigating as a hate crime. The women reported that they were in the Lawrence Hall of Science parking lot when three men drove a car into the lot and threw water bottles at them, then drove away. The car then returned and the men shouted epithets at the students. At least two of the students may have been struck by the bottles or by water from the bottles after they burst open on the pavement. Fortunately, no one was physically injured, but all felt threatened and frightened.

I call on our entire campus community to join me and incoming Chancellor Birgeneau in condemning this terrible incident and apparent hate crime. Acts of hate in whatever form they occur and to whomever they are directed can not be tolerated on this campus.

Dr. Birgeneau, who was on his way back to Toronto for the weekend, has already scheduled a meeting next week with members of the Chancellor's Task Force on Hate and Bias, a joint student-administration task force that we commissioned last fall to address incidents driven by racial, ethnic, religious and gender hatred and intolerance.

As a caring and supportive community we must, at all times, stand together against deplorable acts of hate and intolerance.

Robert M. Berdahl