April 12, 2010


SUBJECT:    Campus Climate at UC San Diego

Dear Colleagues:

The last few weeks of Winter Quarter were extremely painful at UC San Diego. Included were the racially-charged events leading to the student protests and expressions of concern by students, faculty, and staff for a safe learning environment and hate-free campus. Meetings were held between the UC San Diego administration and the Black Student Union leadership with Senate participation to articulate a set of common goals to achieve real change on campus

These events have led to an enormous amount of negative publicity for UC San Diego. On 20 March, a community forum organized by the California Legislature "Addressing Intolerance in Higher Education" was held on campus. Subsequently, at its 24 March meeting, the UC Board of Regents held an extended public comment period and discussion on recent incidents of intolerance on University of California campuses. Archive video of the Regents meeting is available - the three files of interest are those labeled as starting at 10:30 a.m. (starts ~4 min into the file), 11:30 a.m., and 11:59 a.m. UC San Diego will be scrutinized for some time to come by our local community, the legislature, and UCOP.

These events also underscore a critical need for UC San Diego to take visible, significant steps (which entails the commitment of resources) to improve the campus climate for underrepresented minorities. These will begin with the common goals summarized in the 24 March article "UC San Diego Updates Campus Climate Goals and Accountability Efforts" Certainly, a vast majority of students, faculty, and staff have not knowingly contributed to a negative campus climate. However, as a campus community, we actively need to embrace diversity and foster cultural awareness at every opportunity. We must insist on a safe, respectful learning and work environment on campus for everyone. As faculty, we set the tone by the character of our interaction with our peers, staff, and students. On a daily basis, we can and must demonstrate an inclusive approach to our campus mission of teaching, research, and service. In addition, we need to enhance the academic core of UC San Diego through the expansion of teaching and academic research that contributes to diversity across various fields - even in these times of scarce resources. As we work on these challenges together, we must seek a fair balance between diversity broadly construed (international students, regional differences, and the like) and diversity understood as the inclusion of women and historically underrepresented U.S. minority populations.

Let me encourage your participation in departmental, divisional, and campus-wide discussions on diversity and campus climate. You can become aware of campus resources and activities through the and web sites.


William S. Hodgkiss
Academic Senate, San Diego Division