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Forum Post: UCR Chancellor White's Address to Student and Faculty

Posted 9 years ago on Nov. 21, 2011, 10:47 p.m. EST by radbradd (2) from Carmel, CA
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November 21, 2011

TO: UCR Students, Faculty, and Staff

I have watched in sadness and shock this past week as peaceful protests on our sister UC campuses have erupted into scenes where students, faculty, and staff have been pushed back and pepper sprayed. The chancellors on these campuses and President Yudof have called for independent investigations of these incidents, and that is exactly what now needs to be done.

In addition, President Yudof issued a statement on November 20 indicating, “…Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history. It is a value we must protect with vigilance.” I could not agree more.

Over the past few weeks, and as you deserve and should expect, there have been many discussions among UCR leadership, including vice chancellors, deans, the Academic Senate, student leadership, Staff Assembly, and campus law enforcement regarding a principled, safe, and secure path forward.

We have affirmed the right to free speech and peaceful assembly for our students, faculty, and staff on campus. We have reviewed and reaffirmed clear and responsible procedures for responding to assemblies in a way that ensures the safety of participants and the campus community at large, while also protecting property and our capacity to carry out our mission.

During previous periods of protest at UCR, I have been proud of the manner in which our students, faculty, and staff have expressed themselves. Since my arrival here just over three years ago, rallies, marches, and teach-ins have been held with no ugly confrontations, no pepper spray, and no arrests. Student leaders, union protestors, and others have negotiated with campus leadership to establish expectations and understand policies and protocols of time, place, and manner.

Yes, UCR protestors have loudly raised their voices and expressed their opinions and even their anger. When it comes to the disinvestment by the State of California in public education, including the University of California, my voice joins in.

I want to conclude by again affirming the right of our students, faculty, staff, and community to gather peacefully and exercise free speech. The issues today are complex and many. Let us bring the intellectual strength of our university and our people to shed light on these issues and to engage in meaningful and constructive dialogue with the goal of deepening our understanding and mutual respect.

Fiat Lux,

Timothy P. White Chancellor

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[-] 1 points by radbradd (2) from Carmel, CA 9 years ago

Good on you Chancellor; you are an inspiration. You are paving the path with leadership that hopefully others in your position will follow.