March 8, 2010
Our campus community has been hurt, but the healing process has begun. I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made to move past recent hurtful incidents. Over the last several days, I’ve had many successful discussions with campus and community leaders. We’ve been able to share ideas and recommendations that will help us create a stronger, better and more diverse learning and working environment for us all. We have defined common goals that aim to enhance diversity on the campus, in the curriculum and throughout the San Diego community. The President of the Black Student Union (BSU) and I also signed a mutual agreement that demonstrates our joint commitment to improve the overall campus climate for everyone.
Over the next days, weeks and months, we will implement many recommendations that will promote diversity and ensure an open and welcoming environment on campus that will benefit all students, faculty and staff. Among the actions: we are establishing a Campus Climate Commission to examine the campus climate and the university’s diversity-related efforts. We are creating a task force to promote the recruitment, support and retention of underrepresented faculty. We are identifying appropriate places on campus to display art that is representative of underrepresented communities and we are working to make the temporary Chicano Legacy mural a permanent exhibit on campus. We are reviewing requests from the Colleges to establish campuswide diversity curricular requirements for undergraduates. We have ensured continued supplemental funding for the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) for the 2010-11 academic year. We are funding for three years yield programs to increase the diversity of the undergraduate student body. And, we are assisting faculty who are interested in establishing an organized research unit or a center related to African American, Chicano and Native American-indigenous communities.
I want to emphasize that these are just a few of the actions we are taking, in addition to enhancing our ongoing efforts to enrich diversity. We are also fortunate that Christopher Edley, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, has agreed to serve as a special advisor to assist us with the implementation of our campus climate action plan. Edley is a renowned and respected expert in civil rights law. He will spend time on our campus, engaging with students, faculty and administrators, so that he can evaluate current conditions and help us address underlying issues. Among Edley’s achievements, he acted as special counsel to President Bill Clinton for the White House review of affirmative action and served as a congressional appointee on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1999-2005. He is also founder and director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, a multidisciplinary think tank. Edley is an extraordinary and accomplished leader, and I know that our campus will benefit tremendously from his insight, wisdom and guidance.
We realize these are initial steps and much more work needs to be done to help rebuild and restore our campus community. As we continue to work together and implement these changes, I am confident that the entire campus community will benefit from the transformation.
It is evident that changes are already occurring. I am impressed with our hundreds of community members who have respectfully rallied around campus over the last several days – to express anger over recent incidents, to show support for the First Amendment, and to advocate for state funding of public higher education. The overriding theme is that we all want to move forward and make this university a better place. We may not always agree, but as Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
We cannot change the past, but we can reshape our future. As we celebrate UC San Diego’s 50th anniversary this year, let’s not only look back at our achievements, let’s also look forward to the next 50 years and find new ways to improve our university and the campus climate.
I will continue to extend my hand to all community members so that we can work together to reform our campus climate and make this a welcoming and a diverse university, known not only for its world-class education and research, but also for its open and respectful environment. And I will continue to advocate for this university in every way possible, and ensure that voices are heard on campus, in our community and in Sacramento. The March 4th Day of Action was an impressive event, with tens of thousands of people in California and around the country, including hundreds of individuals on this campus, demonstrating their support for education and demanding greater financial support from the government. I thank our students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members who are advocating on our behalf.
As a final and very important point, I once again urge all UC San Diego community members to review and reaffirm our Principles of Community.
With warm regards,
Marye Anne Fox