An administrator at the University of California, Santa Cruz issued an apology to students after some of their peers made the “poor decision” to include Mexican food at a space-themed event on Tuesday.
In an e-mail sent out to students at UC Santa Cruz’s Stevenson College, Carolyn Golz said the planners of the residential community’s College Night program “made a poor decision when choosing to serve a Mexican food buffet during a program that included spaceships and ‘aliens’, failing to take into account how these choices might be perceived by others.”
“We would never want to make a connection between individuals of Latino heritage or undocumented students and ‘aliens,’” Golz insists, and she is “so sorry that our College Night appeared to do exactly that.”
According to the e-mail, Golz says the inclusion of Mexican food at an event featuring aliens as part of the theme “demonstrated a cultural insensitivity on the part of the program planners and, though it was an unintentional mistake, I recognize that this incident caused harm within our community and negatively impacted students.”
The administrator went on to describe herself as “an ally for students of color and, in particular, undocumented students,” and that she is “committed to ensuring that student life staff receive the training necessary to make sure that this type of incident does not happen again at Stevenson.”
In an e-mail to The Daily Caller, Scott Hernandez-Jason, the school’s Director of News and Media Relations, confirmed the event was held and the apology e-mail was issued. When asked about the text of the e-mail provided by users on Reddit, he said, “That letter looks correct,” although he “can’t compare it line by line.”
Hernandez-Jason said the apology was prompted after “[S]everal students complained at the event and several more complained after the event,” which was attended by approximately 450 students.
Hernandez-Jason noted that students were the ones who made the decision to include Mexican food at the event: “For this event, students couldn’t think of something that was space-related. Since they hadn’t yet had Mexican food for one of these events, they chose to serve that as the dinner.”
He added, “Students ultimately decided” to include the Mexican food.
Golz said, going forward, she “will require cultural competence training for Programs staff, in addition to implementing mechanisms for future program planning that will ensure college programs are culturally sensitive and inclusive.”
The apologetic admin offered to meet with students who wanted to discuss the incident further. Golz also included information for the Student Services Diversity and Inclusion Office, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Psychological and Counseling Services and a website for individuals to “Report Hate.”