University of California, San Diego


March 20, 2003


SUBJECT:  War-Related Campus Preparedness and Communications

Yesterday, our nation entered into a war, and along with all Americans, the UCSD community is now in a state of heightened alert and deep concern. I want to reassure you that we have developed comprehensive plans for enhancing campus safety, sustaining campus operations, and issuing timely news updates. I also want to share a few personal thoughts about how we will manage in the weeks and months ahead.

As the United States faces a war of unknown duration, UCSD faces a challenge: How do we uphold our mission as a university at a time of mounting anxiety and divided opinion? I believe the answer lies in the way we reacted to the events of September 11, 2001. If you think back to that tragedy, you will remember how we came together as a UCSD community to grieve and to heal. In memorial services and panel discussions, we openly expressed opposing views with mutual courtesy, and we reaffirmed our Principles of Community, especially their emphasis on valuing diversity and respecting the dignity of every person.

As we struggle to cope with the war in Iraq, we must remain together. To that end, I have formed a Special Advisory Committee on War-Related Matters to help manage the impact of war on the UCSD campus. The committee will advise me on such matters as educational programs, communication strategies, management of campus events, security, privacy, health and well-being of our community, and the protection of free speech and academic freedom. One of the committee's primary responsibilities will be to keep everyone informed about campus activities. A special Webpage on my Chancellor's Office Website (http://www-chancellor.ucsd.edu) will carry updates about war-related activities and Web Links to an array of campus resources. In addition, our BLINK website (http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/warinfo) will carry up to the minute information. I urge you to visit both of these websites regularly.

Despite this difficult time, I think it is imperative that UCSD adhere to its missions of education, research, and public service. This will not be a "business as usual" time, but we still must carry out our regular business, including scheduled classes and examinations. Throughout this stressful period, I ask each of you to make a special effort to extend courtesy to your colleagues, especially to those whose loved ones are serving in the Armed Forces. I hope all of us will be particularly sensitive to the needs of our students. We have a mandate to prepare them for their roles as future leaders, and that responsibility seems to be especially important now.

In 1964, in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King, Jr., refused to be daunted by the threat of global war because, he said, "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality." Let us embrace Dr. King's faith in humanity by continuing our pursuit of knowledge and by standing together as a community of scholars and learners.

                                                Robert C. Dynes