October 26, 2023

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

The mission of the University of California is founded on traditions of academic dialogue and debate. As we strive to respond to global conflict at a time when many in our community are experiencing distress, we reaffirm our principles of community, while acknowledging that we may have great differences of opinion, as well as differences in experiences.

Our principles of community include these core tenets:

  • We affirm the intrinsic dignity in each of us.
  • We seek to cultivate understanding among the diverse parts of our whole.
  • We believe in every individual’s right to freedom of expression, including the ability to disagree with and/or counter another's point of view, limited only by University regulations governing time, place, and manner.
  • We hold one another accountable to the highest standards of civility, respect, and decency in all of our interactions.
  • We do not tolerate acts of bigotry, harassment, or other harm to individuals by anyone in our community on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sex, gender, age, physical or mental ability, size, language, religious beliefs, political affiliation, gender identity, service in the uniformed services, citizenship, pregnancy, medical condition, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, or national origin among other personal characteristics. We affirm that the responsibility for opposing such behavior lies with all members of the community whenever they encounter such behavior. 
  • We celebrate our differences and recognize and honor diversity as vital to the excellence of our University.
  • We strive individually and collectively to make UC Santa Barbara an inclusive environment in which to live, work and learn.
  • We affirm that UC Santa Barbara, as a public institution, extends these Principles of Community through public service work.
  • We affirm our individual and collective responsibility to uphold in words and actions the highest values of Scholarship, Leadership and Citizenship.

The University of California Faculty Code of Conduct includes this statement about the ethical principles at the core of our community: “Faculty members have the same rights and obligations as all citizens. They are as free as other citizens to express their views and to participate in the political processes of the community. When they act or speak in their personal and private capacities, they should avoid deliberately creating the impression that they represent the University.” (U.C. Academic Council Statement, 1971).

Faculty and students have the right to express their personal opinions outside of the university. Although the Faculty Code of Conduct prohibits “the significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course” when teaching, faculty have the right to discuss controversial topics related to their academic subject in the classroom when relevant. We should acknowledge that there are topics and perspectives that will be upsetting to some, but the university should be a scholarly community that welcomes debate, reasoned judgments, and even passionate arguments.

With academic freedom and freedom of speech comes a responsibility to express oneself with care, consideration, and empathy, especially at a time when our community is in pain and it may be difficult to find consensus and common cause. We call upon every member of our community to be aware of our different opinions, backgrounds, and histories, and to promote “the highest standards of civility, respect, and decency in all of our interactions.” We are free to speak our consciences when we disagree. At the same time, no one should feel intimidated, threatened, or at risk because of their beliefs or identities.

The Division of Student Affairs has posted reminders about campus rules and expectations for students, as well as campus safety and support resources. Faculty and staff with needs and concerns can contact the Academic & Staff Assistance Program, the Ombuds Office, or the University of California Ethics & Compliance Program.


Henry T. Yang

David Marshall
Executive Vice Chancellor

Susannah Scott
Academic Senate Chair

Joe Incandela
Vice Chancellor for Research

Margaret Klawunn
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Jeffrey Stewart
Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Daina Ramey Berry
Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts

Steve Gaines
Dean of Bren School of Environmental Science and Management

Charlie Hale
Dean of Social Sciences

Michael Miller
Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Education

Umesh Mishra
Dean of Engineering

Leila Rupp
Interim Dean of Graduate Division

Jill Sharkey
Acting Dean of Gevirtz Graduate School of Education

Tim Sherwood
Interim Dean of Creative Studies

Pierre Wiltzius
Dean of Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences