University of California, San Diego

June 11, 1997
To the UCSD Community:
"I want to share with you the announcement I made yesterday at the 
     Representative Assembly of the Academic Senate."
I suspect the issue of the Charter School has been as much on your minds as it has on mine. This is one of the most complex issues UCSD has faced in some time. It raises important questions about the role we should play in addressing problems that are beyond the traditional scope of our mission. It is incumbent upon all of us to think these questions through very carefully, for our response has significant implications for the future of the university.
After a year of extensive review and conflicting preliminary votes, the Academic Senate rejected the Charter School proposal placed before it by mail ballot. I accept that verdict and want to state unequivocally that I will not move forward with the proposed plan. Having said that, I also want to thank Cecil Lytle, Bud Mehan, and the others who spent so many hours developing the proposal, for placing before us the issue of UCSD's contribution to the early education of our community's youngsters.
Discussion of the proposed charter school plan is over. But the question of UCSD's role in the preparation of future university students remains urgently before us. I know that you, the members of the faculty, recognize its urgency, for despite the sharply divergent opinions voiced in Academic Senate reviews of the failed charter school proposal, I heard a remarkable consensus about its general goals. Almost unanimously, commentators stated their agreement that the university should reach out to the public school system and become more involved in efforts to enhance its effectiveness. The consensus was again expressed in the motion on outreach that was overwhelmingly passed by the Representative Assembly on May 6.
Today I ask you to reignite this commitment and join me in seeking fresh ideas for a UCSD initiative in preparatory public education. I envision a school or an academy of some kind that would serve as a hope for disadvantaged young people and a stimulus and model to schools around the county, as well as a symbol of UCSD's engagement with the future of San Diego. I have no preconceptions about the form this initiative would take. Its site might be on or off campus or both; it might involve partnership with an existing school or collaboration with another university; it might begin at the elementary school level. I insist only that it be a comprehensive, visible, UCSD-sponsored project designed to bring the possibility of academic excellence to promising but disadvantaged children.
The intensive approach I am calling for would not replace any of UCSD's successful outreach programs, which are indispensable to our shared goal of extending the university's impact on the preparation of future students as broadly as possible. Rather, a UCSD academy, school or partnership would form the keystone that links together and gives visibility to the array of programs through which UCSD contributes to educational efforts throughout the county. Together, the intensive and extensive approaches will enhance one another.
Let me make one final point before I describe my plan of action. I know that a worry many of you might have about the kind of initiative I am proposing concerns its effect on our primary mission at a time when we are still fragile from the enormous budget cuts of the recent past. Though I feel strongly that the objectives to be met are important for the university, for our children and for our community, I will not jeopardize the resources necessary to the university's teaching and research missions. I firmly believe that if we are successful in working with the community in creating a school or academy of some sort, new resources can be found to support this endeavor.
For all these reasons, I have asked Georgios Anagnostopoulos and Darrel Fanestil to join with me in appointing a joint Senate and Administration committee whose charge will be to take a fresh look at the university's outreach objectives and to develop a proposal for an intensive UCSD educational project for underprivileged children. The plan it develops should be ready for Academic Senate review in the fall and be put to a vote by next November. I assure you that I will not move forward with any plan for a school, partnership or academy without the formal approval of the faculty. But I am confident that among us we have the creativity and the commitment to fashion a proposal that we can all enthusiastically support. For the good of the university and the community and our collective future, we must find our way through these complex issues together. I truly believe that in pushing ahead we can come up with a plan that future generations will look back on as one of UCSD's finest ventures.
Robert C. Dynes