Chancellor's Friday Letters

ABC of Good Communicating

ABC of Good Communicating

May 7, 2010

Dear Friends,

I commend our students and staff members for organizing and hosting a wonderful UC-wide student conference this past weekend on our campus.

While many individuals were involved in the African Black Coalition (ABC) conference, I’d like to acknowledge four UCR students and three members of our professional staff for the stunning success. Students Stacey Hartnett, Denesa Moore, Jazmine Ward, and Ashley Williams, along with Ken Simons, Rhiannon Little, and Shante Morton, worked relentlessly and tirelessly on behalf of all of us across the UC system… congratulations and thank you.

The ABC conference is an annual event that occurs on a different campus each year. This year was the seventh annual conference, and it was the first time it has been held on the Riverside campus of the University of California.

The organizers pulled off a massive event that included speakers, workshops and poetry slams over the course of three nights and two days… more than 600 students attended from around California.

This ABC conference focused on several key issues from all of the UC campuses, including improvements in the climate and quality of campus environments. The conference was about affordable access to high quality education, and making improvements regarding a safe, encouraging, welcoming, challenging and supportive environment for all students. Conference sessions included topics such as the power and importance of community, career development, establishing networks, and approaches to activism that evoke positive change.

And while these topics require vigilant attention for us, recent events have brought the need for improvement, as well as our shortcomings and successes, into crisper focus.

In my opening comments to the delegates, I observed that they had a special opportunity to learn from others, to influence others, and to deepen their understanding of the important matters of our time. I suggested the potential for a larger legacy of their work together… a legacy of improved opportunities for future students that follow through the great halls, labs, libraries, studios, fields, clinics and theaters of the University of California, including their siblings and children. Just like the legacy of those who preceded them.

At noon on Saturday, it was moving and inspiring to watch and listen to all of the students in the sun-bathed Highlander Plaza, as they told their stories and dreams through poetry, skits, dialogues, monologues, and dancing. We have such incredible talent and intellect among these students, whose accomplishments and aspirations make us all proud, and whose path often is strewn with debris… yet they have overcome this to soon become graduates of the UC and take advantage of all the doors that will open worldwide.

Perhaps my greatest pride emerged when our student delegates stood up and successfully rebuffed some strong and differing opinions that emerged at the last minute on how best to engage the Saturday afternoon two-way teleconference with President Yudof. Despite a set of prior agreements among the organizers on the format of the President’s session (i.e., a short presentation followed by a lengthy discussion), some unanticipated “whitewater” occurred when three students sought to hijack the conference, derail the purpose with other political agendas, and poison the opportunity for all delegates to have a meaningful dialogue with the President. These students’ actions were called out and shut down by others, and the conference returned to its focus.

The presentation by UC President Mark Yudof was followed by a serious and pointed Q&A session. Subsequently, the President invited 18 student delegates (two from each of the UC campuses that have undergraduate programs) to continue the conversation at a session that he will convene soon in Oakland.

Read more about the ABC conference at http://newsroom.ucr.edu/news_item.html?action=page&id=2326

My best regards,


Tim White, Chancellor

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Creativity lies at the HUB of the Undergraduate Experience
A brilliant display of scholarship by our undergraduate students will be especially visible today at the HUB during the annual Symposium for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. Professor Jodie Holt will give a keynote talk about bringing science to the public.
http://ugrs.ucr.edu/schedule/2010.pdf and http://ugrs.ucr.edu/proceedings/2010.pdf.

Chris Abani, Up Close and Personal
A much-revered poet and novelist, Chris Abani is often invited to read his work to literature lovers around the world. Today at 3:30 p.m. at the Orbach Science Library, he will read poetry for a Riverside audience. The event is sponsored by the UCR Libraries, and is open to all.

Come Walk with the Mayor
Tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m., Mayor (aka Professor) Ron Loveridge and Director Giles Waines will go for a walk in the UCR Botanic Gardens. The event is designed as an informal time to walk and chat about the issues of the day. Come enjoy the cool morning air.

Find out what else is going on at UC Riverside: http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

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