University of California at Santa Cruz also pronounces on Rittenhouse verdict

November 23, 2021 • 11:15 am

Now that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of California at Irvine has apologized for taking a public and official stand on the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict (he didn’t like it), will the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) be next? For here’s their own statement, posted on the University website and signed by UCSC’s Chancellor and by the Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

This one is even more over the top than the UC Irvine statement, for it makes absolutely no bones about their opposition to the verdict, calling it a “failure of accountability.”

Dear Campus Community,

We are disheartened and dismayed by this morning’s not guilty verdict on all charges in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. The charges included fatally shooting two unarmed men, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz at a Black Lives Matter rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020. We join in solidarity with all who are outraged by this failure of accountability.

We also acknowledge that this same week the prosecution and defense concluded their case in the trial of three white men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man, in February 2020, south of Brunswick, Georgia.

Trials such as these that have race-related implications can cause our BIPOC communities distress and harm. This is harm that is endured everyday through acts of racism, the pervasiveness of white supremacy and a flawed justice system.

We firmly believe in our Principles of Community and our collective responsibility to continue to disrupt systemic racism. It is important to publicly reaffirm our shared values and to ensure that those who are experiencing distress and impact have access to supportive resources. We reaffirm these values each day through our actions in our own spheres of influence. The Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion is here to help support community members in the work of building a more inclusive climate.

If you are feeling impacted by these events, please do not hesitate to reach out to campus services for support. Staff in our colleges, resource centers, and Counseling and Psychological Services provide assistance for students. Our Employee Assistance Program offers counseling and support to employees. If you need to report discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics, please contact the Office of Equity and Equal Protection.


Cindy and Judith

Cynthia Larive

Judith Estrada
Executive Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Interim Chief Diversity Officer

Note as well the claim that it is everyone at the university’s responsibility to “continue to disrupt systemic racism.”  I don’t think so. They also say “we affirm these values each day.” Who is “we”? Is it everyone at UCSC on board with this? Did the signers ask everyone if they’re affirming the University’s expressed values? Were they equally outraged when O. J. Simpson was pronounced not guilty for the murder of two people?

This statement should not have been made. Like the UCI one, for which the issuer later apologized, it is an unseemly pronouncement on a jury verdict coupled with a huge dollop of virtue signaling.  It also assumes that the Rittenhouse case was all about white supremacy and race—a proposition of which I’m not yet convinced.

The University of Chicago has (so far) issued no official pronouncements on the verdict. And that’s the way it should be.

UPDATE:  A friend I showed this to wrote me the following:

Here’s one detail about the latest pronouncement: it’s signed “Cindy and Judith.”What does that tell us? The chancellor and vice-chancellor at Santa Cruz appear desperately afraid to be perceived as embodying official authority. In effect, they are masquerading as students––part of the unanimous groundswell against “systemic racism.” Now, how pathetic is that?

15 thoughts on “University of California at Santa Cruz also pronounces on Rittenhouse verdict

  1. It’s stunning the amount of disinformation still coming from “responsible”, but histerical, sources

    “The charges included fatally shooting two unarmed men, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz at a Black Lives Matter rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020.”

    One man used a skateboard to bash Rittenhouse on the head….and I believe the other one may have had a gun.

    And some “rally” that was!!!! It was a riot where many small business were burned….business whose margins were thin and couldn’t afford much insurance. $50 million in damages.

    Glenn Greenwald has a post morten that is worth sampling…..

    1. Also, it’s a nitpick, but “The charges include fatally shooting…” is not correct. I believe he was charged with intentional homicide among other things…the fact of the fatal shootings was not in dispute, if my understanding is correct.

      The fact that these people appear to know next to nothing about the legal/criminal justice system and yet feel free to pronounce their own verdicts on such matters makes me quite uncomfortable with the fact that they are in educational positions.

      1. Indeed. Second-guessing the verdict that a jury should have delivered when 1) You weren’t in court every day and 2) Weren’t party to the deliberations in the jury room is ridiculous.

        There may well be legal arguments about the conduct of the trial (e.g. that the judge acted improperly; that (in)appropriate evidence was(n’t) admitted, etc.) but I haven’t seen any of those condemning the verdict pointing to any such shortcomings. It seems that they just don’t like the verdict on the basis of what they have seen in their preferred media outlet.

    2. It is undeniable that the coverage in most of the media of l’affaire Rittenhouse has been disgracefully dishonest and maliciously mendacious. On MSNBC, the commentary has been partisan and often quite unhinged, completely untethered to the world of facts and evidence, as well as hostile to reasoned argument. Many a lawsuit for defamation of character is, in all likelihood, imminent, and many a mea culpa should be forthcoming (but will certainly not be) from the most biased of those sources whose insatiable need for a “woke” narrative blinded them to the truth.

    3. Huber was the skateboard. Grosskreutz had the gun. However this doesn’t necessarily mean self-defense was legit. As I said on the other thread, I’m not going to try and second-guess the jury on that one (and I wouldn’t have second-guessed them if they had chosen to convict either).

      All three victims were white though. So beyond pointing out that Rittenhouse got treated remarkably and surprisingly leniently by police in the initial response – and that him being white probably had something to do with that – I’m not sure what the BIPOC tie-in is. If UCSC is trying to imply this is another incident of a BIPOC victim, they’re factually wrong on that.

      Oh banana slugs. Your mascot and general hippiness are so cool. Why’d you have to go ruin it?

  2. If you are feeling impacted by these events, please do not hesitate to reach out to campus services for support. Staff in our colleges, resource centers, and Counseling and Psychological Services provide assistance for students.

    The statement is probably about this as much as anything else. Apparently students either need or expect authorities to help them emotionally cope with upsetting things. Or, at least, offer to do so.

    1. Meh, as a government contractor both my corporate office and my government office did something like that after the George Floyd killing. So it’s not just millennials, or just university students, or just universities; the “your workplace should offer support services” idea seems to be a general trend now, being taken up by all sorts of public and private sector entities. My cynic side says lawyers are likely advising offices to do it in case they get sued by employees for not doing it. Or that “we will make our support services available to impacted staff” is the new corporatespeak equivalent of “we send our thoughts and prayers” – i.e. a way an organization can virtue signal to its staff that it cares, without actually doing much.

  3. I can see how, for some in these positions, it must be considered a fulfillment of the mission of their departments of Diversity Equity to make official public statements on these types of current events. This is in direct conflict with your point that universities should not issue pronouncements of this sort. Who would say they were not in favor of equity and inclusion? Yet it appears the way the departments have been conceived leads them to a very specific political viewpoint, and to do so officially to reassure the student body (and their boss) that they are on the correct side of the issues. I don’t believe a conflict is inevitable, but it is not surprising when it happens.

  4. In regard to comment #1: the Kenosha rally must be described as “mostly peaceful” because the
    damage was only $50 million. As for the “unarmed” Mr.Grosskreutz, the pistol he had (and apparently pointed at Rittenhouse) was not a gun because it did not self-identify as a gun.

    Someone suggested that the US needs not so much gun control as idiot control. This is certainly accurate in regard to Rittenhouse himself as well as Rosenbaum, Huber, Grosskreutz, and who knows how many other demonstration groupies on both ends of the ideological spectrum. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to apply it to academic officials as well, particularly those of the new nomenklatura. That said, I have to applaud the new, retraction-ish statement by Professor Haynes of UC Irvine.

    1. Groups have for years fought for free and open access to idiot control, but the republicans pushed back, arguing just as vociferously in favor of procreation over recreation and now the liberals libel it as eugenics, but what more can one expect in these, the waning days of Babylon?

  5. It makes no sense

    What other cases are they going to weigh in on?

    What other “news” do they feel compelled to tell everyone what they think of it?

    And who is “they”?

  6. The idea that there was no accountability for Rittenhouse’s actions can only imply that there can never be mitigation for killing. I don’t think any group actually believes that, or, at least, would call for that standard to be employed when one of their own (however defined) was in the dock. I notice that the statement did not express the hope that Darrell Brooks would meet swift and condign punishment.

  7. The whole Kenosha shootings saga arguably arises from one of those “sliding doors” moments. The first guy to try to grab Rittenhouse’s gun, Joseph Rosenbaum, wasn’t there for the protest and had a lot of personal issues. If he hadn’t acted exactly the way he did everything might have played out differently. (Although with the high levels of local tension and the insane US gun laws, perhaps not…)

    According to The Washington Post

    Joseph Rosenbaum — depressed, homeless and alone — didn’t belong to either side. He had spent most of his adult life in prison for sexual conduct with children when he was 18 and struggled with bipolar disorder. That day, Aug. 25, Rosenbaum was discharged from a Milwaukee hospital following his second suicide attempt in as many months and dumped on the streets of Kenosha.

    1. I actually feel that Rittenhouse should have been held guilty of, at least, reckless endangerment and illegal firearm possession (and the judge should have made it possible to hold him guilty for both). But I don’t want my university to take an official stance agreeing with me about that.

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