On February 17th, as many of you have read, I wrote about the manner in which we discuss and debate our differences, our values and how we use those values to guide our decision-making. An unfortunate series of recent events requires that I revisit and reinforce this message.
During recent days, several events on the UCSD campus have opened painful wounds. As I stated in my commencement address last June, we are all particularly offended (and astonished) when campus groups behave in ways that are harmful to other members of our community. On our own campus, we have unfortunately seen an increase in inflammatory rhetoric and actions, rather than an increase in problem solving efforts. At Berkeley, just last night, we witnessed a regrettably destructive and violent confrontation. The list goes on.
This is a stressful time for all of us in the University of California family. And it is at just these times that we must remember and rededicate ourselves to our values and guiding principles, particularly respect, integrity and empathy, to light the way forward from the distressing events of the recent past.
I have joined my colleagues in a statement reaffirming our commitment to promote and defend the principles and values of the University of California. Fortunately, as I stated, the overwhelming majority of us are fully aligned in our efforts to continue to advance as a campus and as a community, and that is just what we shall do.
Chancellor Michael Drake
February 26, 2010
To the UCI Community:
I am sure that you now know about the recent deplorable conduct mocking Black History Month and African American students at UCSD.
It is shocking to see these actions, especially within our University of California, where we expect everyone to share a core respect for enlightenment through learning. It saddens me to know how many students have been hurt by these ugly incidents. While I understand that we will likely always have to deal with racial intolerance within a diverse society, we must understand that it injures us all.
But no matter what, we must remember that the University of California as an institution of higher learning is better than this. The overwhelming majority of the University community does not think what happened at UCSD is acceptable. We can extend our sympathy, support and reassure all that an educated community does not endorse or remain sanguine about racial intolerance even when we cannot change everyone’s minds and hearts.
Whatever the outcome from the investigation into these incidents, that is currently underway, let us strive, each of us and all of us, to be more compassionate and accepting of differences, more appreciative of the benefits of our diversity, and more proactive in offering understanding rather than judgment. We can all do better, and this is the perfect moment to reflect on where each of us has been and where, together, we want to go.
I am proud of the positive things we represent and have accomplished on this campus, and I know we will rise to meet this challenge as well, standing together as an example of civility, open inquiry, and engaged learning.
Manuel N. Gómez, Ph.D.