Social Justice Group Concerned About Alleged UCD Racial Incidents



by the Davis Social Justice Coalition

This past week, an article came out in the UC Davis Aggie newspaper (which has since been removed from its website) about an individual stating that he was consistently harassed around their racial identity as a Black man at the UC Davis Office of Research.

He described how fellow staff constantly heckled him on a regular basis for 18 months on end, leading to eventually a written remark using a racial epithet against him.  We as members of a variety of social justice-based organizations in the community of Davis, collectively known as the Davis Social Justice Coalition, applaud the courage of the individual to bring forward his voice to speak his truth.  Discrimination does exist in our community and often goes unspoken and unrecognized.

We demand a speedy and fair investigation into this long series of incidents within that campus office.  That being said, the coalition also wants to recognize that incidents like this are not isolated within our community – whether they be on campus or in the city, and are part of larger systems of oppression in our country.

Just this past summer for example, a Black UC Davis alumni was asked to leave the Shields Library Reading Room and shared that he then faced excessive use of force.   Recognition of these incidents is an opportunity for open communication and to encourage those in charge to take responsibility for ensuring a safe environment for everyone, and this should be the case for the UC Davis campus as a whole where people regardless of their identities should be honored, respected and valued for who they are.

Editor’s note:  The article in the Cal Aggie which has since removed reported: “UC Davis Office of Research employee (Employee) has publicly stepped forward alleging his supervisors and co-workers of racial harassment. (Employee), who currently works as a contracts analyst, said that slurs including, “(Employee) is a dumb n***a,” and “I will ruin your black ass,” were used to address him while working at the university.”

Mr. (Employee) claims to “being harassed from his first day. The employee alleges that he was singled out by executive director Ahmad Hakim-Elahi for simply introducing himself to his new co-workers.”

“My first day on the job, people were introducing themselves to me and [Hakim-Elahi] goes to my supervisor and says, ‘Why is he talking so much? Doesn’t he have work to do?’” Mr. (Employee) said. “He would stand outside my office door for two to three minutes at a time and just stare at me.”  Mr. (Employee)said he didn’t begin receiving racial harassment until July 2014 when associate director Randi Jenkins told the analyst, “I’ll ruin your black ass if you ever talk back to me.” According to the article Mr. (Employee) claims “the threat was in response to (Employee) defending himself after Jenkins mistakenly accused him of socializing on the job when he was actually in a work meeting.”

“People would sit down and have conversations about work, about contracts and she yelled at me. She said, ‘What are these people doing in here!’” Mr. (Employee) said. “I would respond back, ‘Hey, this person was just getting me files. We weren’t discussing anything of a personal nature.’ And that started the comment, ‘I’ll ruin your black ass if you ever talk back to me.’ I was pretty shocked.”


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

39 thoughts on “Social Justice Group Concerned About Alleged UCD Racial Incidents”

  1. Alan Miller

    Let’s just paste everyone’s comments from the previous Vanguard articles on race into the box below and call it a day; what say everyone?

        1. Alan Miller

          Nooooo .  .   . Saying the same characters will make the same comments and ever thy heads shall butt.

  2. Anon

    I would refer this author to the Vanguard articles on the issue of the “Black UC Davis alumni [who] was asked to leave the Shields Library Reading Room and shared that he then faced excessive use of force.”  Just because someone claims racism/excessive use of force doesn’t make it so.  Nowhere does this article mention the UC Davis alumni “tailgating” into a library where he had no business to be.

    1. Davis Progressive

      that’s why we have a complaint process.  i think you guys have focused on the issue of tailgating, i think this letter, myself, and david are more concerned with the unequal treatment under the law.


    2. Topcat

      Nowhere does this article mention the UC Davis alumni “tailgating” into a library where he had no business to be.

      Yes, It’s hard to take anything the “Davis Social Justice Coalition” says seriously if they can’t even bother to report the facts honestly.

  3. oopsididitagain

    Thank You Anon, David as a journalist shouldn’t you state the FACTS. Such as An Unauthorized Man Illegally gained access to the study lounge. And claimed excessive use was used in removing him from the site. Or do the facts tend to discredit the  victims claim of being targeted. As his illegal actions are what got the ball rolling

    1. Davis Progressive

      david didn’t write this article.  it appears to be a letter from a community group and there was added background into the office of research issue, no one seems to want to talk about.

      1. Ewillis

        Davis Progressive,  there is an incredible amount of evidence of the word nigga being used. Unequal and disparate treatment.  All th information will be released in due time. Emails ans other statements.  Undisputed facts.   How was Willis supposd to deal with someone saying whats up my nigga?? Or a supervisor yelling at Willis. Or a supervisor answering his work phone dor no reason other than wanting to harass Willis. The supervisor was reprimanded for those actions.   There is no race card. There are facts upon facts.

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    Is it Willis, or Willias? (sp)

    Alleging someone was “constantly heckled him on a regular basis” in 2015 is tough to imagine on a university campus, unless this is some renegade department.

    Has there been any analysis of this alleged racial graffiti? Could be real, could be a fabricated (fraud?).

    1. Ewillis

      TBD, there is substantial and relevant information to support the assertions and allegations.  Employees used the statements, “what’sup my nigga.”Human Resources manager apologized in an email.  Willis attempted to leave.  Everyone is scared of Ahmad,because of his temper. Education does not denote class or even temper, it only denotes learning capacity.  Randi Jenkins violated workspace by answering his work phone when no other employee prior to or after experienced that. Jenkins was reprimanded and emails are available.  These are lawyers and if they were defamed, then why haven’t they brought forth a cause of action, i.e. lawsuit??  BECAUSE there is evidence of a hostile working environment.

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    Since there is serious allegation here, we should know more about Ahmad Hakim-Elahi.

    According to his campus bio: “Ahmad Hakim-Elahi is Executive Director, Research Administration, and Director of Sponsored Programs. … Ahmad received his B.S. degree in Mechanical and Agricultural Engineering, received his M.S. degree in Agronomy in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Genetics in 1981, both at the University of California, Davis. He received his J.D. degree from Santa Clara University in 1990. He is a member of the State of California Bar, the U.S. District Court, Northern California, and the U.S. Patent Bar, allowing him to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Following the completion of his Doctoral and Post-doctoral training at UC Davis, he joined a San Francisco Bay Area plant biotechnology corporation as a research scientist, practicing plant breeding and biotechnology.  During the 12 years of his association with the company, he served in various positions of successively higher responsibilities, including the group leader of the company’s plant breeding team, the research administrator overseeing all company research, and then as the in-house legal counsel. He was a member of a team that moved the company from being a privately-owned entity into a publicly-traded corporation in 1986….”

    He is a highly accomplished professional who works within a diverse department. I find it hard to swallow that an individual with such a superlative background would engage in neanderthal behavior.


    1. Davis Progressive

      “He is a highly accomplished professional who works within a diverse department. I find it hard to swallow that an individual with such a superlative background would engage in neanderthal behavior.”

      you’ve got to be kidding me

  6. TrueBlueDevil

    Randi Jenkins also has a JD and was awarded one of the few campus wide STARS Awards Program recognition awards last year (2014). She was one of 22 individuals who were “heartily endorsed” by the chancellor out of a campus with thousands of staff members.

    So now we have two highly decorated professionals with prestigious law degrees who have had these accusations raised.

  7. KSmith

    The alleged victim also holds a JD.

    And, incidentally, having a high degree from a prestigious institution doesn’t mean that someone can’t also be an a-hole/difficult to work with/racist/sexist/etc.. I’m not sure why you seem to be implying that.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Being difficult to work with – demanding, focused, detailed, urgent – are different issues than being a racist. Those first traits often exist with highly qualified individuals.

      There are two points worthy of note that I would think would be self evident.

      1. Professional educated people typically know how to conduct themselves in public. So while they might tell a racy joke at the home BBQ, they usually know to avoid such behavior at work.

      2. Even if we were to assume someone was racist – which I don’t – of anyone on the face of the earth, lawyers would know not to say such foolish statements in public for fear of lawsuit or termination. That’s their job, they are highly trained and knowledgeable about such matters. Yes, I’ve heard lawyers make colorful statements one on one, but they typically know to refrain from such statements in public.

      1. KSmith

        And yet, all people–including highly educated people AND lawyers–still make such comments in a wide variety of situations.

        I also like how you immediately cast “difficult to work with” in terms favorable to management (Oh, they’re not “difficult to work with,” they’re just “demanding, focused, detailed, urgent”) without even entertaining the idea that either of these people could, in fact be *difficult to work with because they could possibly be tone deaf to how they treat others or perhaps just be a-holes.*  (This comment is not aimed at either of the individuals, but is rather just an example of how the situation can be read in terms -not- favorable to management).

        I’ll just say this: I worked in that office for over 2 years and worked quite closely under one of the named individuals. The office and its leadership were among the most dysfunctional I have had experience with, and there were constant morale problems among the employees. A wide range of employees and in pretty high numbers I might add, lest you think there were just 1-2 individuals who were chronic complainers.

        I, myself, never saw any evidence of racism during my time there, but I did witness (and personally experience) a host of other dysfunctions: inadequate training; inadequate/poor supervision; inequitable workload distribution; and disrespectful/borderline demeaning treatment of employees on the part of management.

        For obvious reasons, that’s pretty much all I’m going to/can say about the situation.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Thank you for the feedback. Dysfunction is different than racism, but I know some who will conflate the two.

          1. David Greenwald

            However, dysfunction can also look like racism and it can enable inappropriate conduct by employees to become racial epithets.

        2. KSmith

          UPDATE: I recently spoke to a co-worker who is still in that office and who has informed me that prior to this set of allegations, management of that office had made a concerted effort to address many of the issues that were the norm during the time I worked there.

          They undertook a re-organization within that office that led to more equitable workload distribution, and as a result more employees feel valued more than ever before, and feel treated quite respectfully.

          That is, until this recent set of allegations came up, which (as you can understand) have caused their own issues.

          Again, I can’t speak to what happened there after my departure (which was well before this incident began), but I’m happy to see that upper management had made a genuine effort to correct some of the problems employees had identified and that they succeeded in doing so since I’m hearing from employees who are now happier, feel more respected, and are now happily engaged in their work.

      2. Tia Will


        Professional educated people typically know how to conduct themselves in public. So while they might tell a racy joke at the home BBQ, they usually know to avoid such behavior at work.”

        I really find it hard to believe that you are as naive as this comment suggests. I have personally witnessed a number of overtly sexist behaviors including physical contact of a sexual nature by doctors, one of whom I turned in for blatant behavior in front of a pre operative patient, and one of whom was moved from his workplace, had to undergo non harassment training and was ultimately given a position in another facility.

        You have to look no further than our political system to see multiple cases of sexual shenanigans perpetrated by members of both parties including very high office which would presumably fall into your category of highly accomplished individuals. If people are willing to engage in blatantly sexist behaviors in public, what makes you think that they will not engage in either blatant or more subtle racist behaviors.

        Please note that I am in no way addressing whether or not these specific incidents were or weren’t racist. Only your, in my opinion, inaccurate assertion that highly educated and or highly placed individuals do not engage in these types of behaviors.


        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Maybe the business world is different than the political world, maybe 2015 is different than 1985.

          You are correct, we have to look no further than Bill Clinton, LBJ, or JFK for inappropriate behavior or allegations of rape. I asked a female executive I knew, who had worked in the south, if she had heard anything about Clinton in 1998. Her reply was “You mean Zipper Clinton?”

          I was hopeful that maybe we are more evolved in the west. The business execs I’ve know, while no angels, were very aware of legal and business implications of inappropriate behavior – i.e., they’d be sued or fired or both. For those reasons some  preferred to employ the services of ‘working women’ – distasteful to some, but pragmatic from their viewpoint.

        2. Ewillis

          A man with a Ph.D in nutrition addressed Willis by stating, “what’s up my nigga.” And no He never heard Willis use that term in any context. He is educated and was disciplined,  yet according to the premise set out by people a man with that education is incapable of acting inappropriate.  Education means you can learn and memorize or study. Doesn’t mean you have people skills or can’t harbor racist or sexist views.

          In fact, educated people may be more prone to think less of others or have a superiority complex.  The entitled opinions on this site is remarkable.

  8. TrueBlueDevil

    Mr. Willis attended Lincoln Law School in Sacramento, and appears to be a young man with a focus on multicultural affairs.

  9. TrueBlueDevil

    I look forward to tomorrow’s column on the attack this morning of the American hero in Sacramento at a Midtown bar by a pack of attackers. He is the hero who took down the terrorist on the train in France recently.

    Police reports say the alleged suspects, who stabbed the hero (victim) were all Asian, so this could be an Asian on white hate crime. Our hero originally was expected to die, but he is now recuperating at the UC Davis Medical Center.

  10. tribeUSA

    KS–wow, sounds like some leadership problems in that office that perhaps still have not been remedied. Your input is valuable, supporting the presence of a somewhat dysfunctional work environment, and adding (from my point of view) to the credibility of Eugene’s complaints–and at UC Davis as well, one of the PC-centers of the universe! Like TBD I find it odd that this would happen at UCD, with distinguished professionals who know better. In several decades of work as an engineer and researcher at large institutions, both public and private sector, I don’t recall a single incident of a racial slur or racist behavior (though there was some other types of bad behavior at one of the private companies). In fact in one of my government engineering jobs a Japanese (2nd generation) engineer I shared an office with was selected to be our department representative on a panel for equal opportunity and handling workplace discrimination complaints etc.; he made an unsolicited complaint to me that this particular responsibility had been and continued to be a ridiculous waste of time; but apparently that is not true everywhere!

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Interesting feedback, tribeUSA. Speaking a second language often helps uncover racist views.

      A friend of mine has a German-Mexican background, and when she was traveling in Mexico on business she was viewed as a white American. At one fancy corporate hotel a Manager behind the counter starting raking her over the coals with racial slurs, stereotypes, inferences and innuendos – all in Spanish, mind you. This was done by the Manager and two underlings. My friend played the naive American and casually listened to all of it. Towards the end of her check in she responded in flawless Spanish, with a polite reference to their racist views.

      They were mortified, apologized profusely, and they immediately upgraded her to the Presidential Suite at no additional cost. She said the look on their face was priceless.

      A few years back a Mexican man I was next to called me a cabron – I knew it was an insult, though I didn’t know the exact meaning. (It is extremely offensive.) I replied in my poor Spanish that I could be his amigo, muchaco, hermano or patron, but not cabron. He was surprised as well.

        1. Anon

          Cabron – vulg. Persona que actua con mala intención y que molesta o perjudica a otros con sus faenas o malas pasadas.

          NOTA  – Se usa como insulto.

          Sounds like a nasty term to me, and I don’t know Spanish… but it clearly is an insulting term.

          1. Matt Williams

            It is interesting to see people jump over the simple straight forward etymological meaning of Cabron


            cabrón m ‎(plural cabrones)

            billy goat

            Of course in English we have vulgar variations as well. Peter is a good one, and I’m absolutely positive that the Pope has the vulgar definition of peter in mind when when he refers to the Basilica of Saint Peter.

            With that said, anyone who has seen a real-life billy goat during rutting season can easily see how the vulgar uses of cabron grew out of that natural obsession of billy goats with sex.

            BTW, the cabrito tacos are really good at a number of Davis Mexican restaurants, most notably Guadalajara.

  11. spononymous

    Just as the article in the Aggie was irresponsibly written, so is this article. That article, much like this one, appears to show only a one-sided story. I was under the impression that responsible journalism meant that you gathered FACTS and reported on them.

    Has no one stopped to question why the article in the Aggie was removed merely a couple of days after it was published? No, of course not. Rather, most of you jump to conclusions based on a very poorly written, one-sided article. The Aggie was removed for a reason and here we are again slandering the names of individuals everyone knows nothing about.

     Let me provide you with just a couple of FACTS that appear to be lacking:

    – Randi Jenkins, over the span of the last 6 years has taught conferences for African American JDs – pro bono. She will in the near future be teaching at another conference in Africa – also pro bono. Clearly she has no issues with people of color. Also, as someone has already pointed out, she was awarded one of the STARS Awards Program recognition awards in 2014.
    – The Office of Research, Sponsored Programs has a diverse group of individuals working in it from ALL walks of life. This diverse group includes many African Americans employees – not including the only African American that seems to have found an issue with this office.           
    – Ahmad Hakim-Elahi was thrown a surprise birthday gathering this last year by an African American employee in the office. He is well respected and appreciated by many, but having a surprise birthday gathering coordinated by an African American employee should go to show that racism is not an issue or his MO.

    Why am I sharing this with you? It’s simple. Don’t always believe what you read. There is always more sides to the story and I am saddened to see that so many people in our community that claim to be mature professionals jump to such negative conclusions about something they clearly know nothing about.

    And just for the record, I am remaining anonymous because of safety concerns. Not from the office, but from the individual that has falsely accused many in the office (not only Jenkins and Hakim-Elahi) – that alone should speak volumes to you.

    “Believe what you like, but don’t believe everything you read without questioning it” – Pauline Baynes

    1. Barack Palin

      Thanks, about what I figured.  Spononymous, if you’re new to this blog get used to it, there are a few race baiters who are prolific posters on here and never pass up an attempt at stirring the race pot.

      1. Ewillis

        Throughout June and July 2014 Willis complained about being targeted for socializing.  Willis never received a write up and passed probation status. August  2014, an employeein a shared office suite with Willis said, “whats up my nigga ” several times.  The employee was reprimanded.  May 2015 racial epithets were written on a bathroom wall. June 2015 Jenkins yelles at Willis and later that day answered his work phone. Willis isa salaried employee. No other employee experienced that.  Jenkins was reprimanded and emails are available.

        Emails are available to confirm all this information . Sandra Stevens a former associate director left the office, because of Ahmad. Sandra is black. University officials knew or should have known about the environment.

        Everything will come to light in due time.  This person has safety concerns of the black man with 3 degrees and countless involvement in the community.  I guess all black men are still violent, even with 3 degrees.  Racist POS.  Spononymous.

    2. Davis Progressive

      “so is this article”

      except this isn’t an article, it’s a letter from a community activist group

      1. spononymous

        If I am not mistaken…. this is an article based on a “submitted letter from a community group”. This was not posted directly by the Davis Social Justice Coalition, rather Vanguard has posted this on behalf of. 
        I could very well be wrong. But you missed the point entirely if this is the only thing you have taken from this. No matter how you slice it…or whatever you want to call it, innocent people are being slandered in both letter/article(s) (here and the removed Aggie post).

        No one except the people that are living and breathing this drama in that office everyday know what is truly going on. I just thought I would share the facts that I know to be true as it seems no one else has cared enough to make such points. 

        1. Ewillis

          The anonymous person has safety concerns, because of Willis the black who holds a JD  and M.Ed, Education. To my knowledge an employee used the term nigga towards Willis. To my knowledge Jenkins answered Willis phone and was reprimanded.  To my knowledge Former Associate Director Stevens workes with Ahmad for 22 years and had significant issues with him.  Stevens is black. Another black lawyer, contract officer didn’t get alongwith Ahmad. See thats called a persistent and pervasive pattern of misconduct.

Comments are closed.

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for