Chancellor's Friday Letters

Educating the newcomers

Educating the newcomers

November 5, 2010

Dear Friends:

For me, the quietude of post-campaign days highlights a personal disappointment if not angst – that the venomous diatribe of negative campaigning obscures the substance of the policy issues that confront society’s future wellbeing.

This past Tuesday, the news cycle was abuzz with the changing political landscape. Pundits and pollsters reached back into the history books looking for comparisons.

But rather than draw parallels with the past, I believe that this is an opportunity for Americans and Californians to look forward and to participate in shaping our individual and collective future.

Our communication with our legislators and Governor is not, should not, and cannot be a biennial occurrence.

While the headlines may make it seem that Election Day is an occasion for voters to send a one-time message to the legislators, the fact is that in addition to voting it is our civic responsibility to continue this dialogue. Whether your candidates won or lost, it is now in our hands to educate those that were once candidates and are now elected to represent all Californians.

Take the California Legislature, for example. Fully one third of the legislative body is new to Sacramento. While trying to navigate the halls of the Capitol, these legislators will also need to navigate their constituencies. No longer is a conversation taking place between a political base and a politician looking for votes, but rather a conversation has started between a constituency and a legislator looking for ways to move California forward in the increasingly competitive global society.

The University of California is neither blue nor red but rather Blue-and-Gold.

We are Blue and Gold because these are the colors of California, and we stand to serve the people of California through our mission of research, teaching and public service … we are in fact the University for California. It is for this reason that we not only encourage our students, faculty, staff and supporters to vote, but to hold our legislators and governor accountable for supporting the promise of the University of California.

Clark Kerr, president-emeritus of the University of California contends, “The status quo is the only solution that cannot be vetoed” meaning that we as advocates for the University of California have a responsibility to inform those whom we have now charged to find solutions to improve the quality of life for all of us.

Without your voice and your presence the conversation becomes a one-way monologue. I strongly encourage you to be on-going advocates and contact our elected representatives on our priorities for California’s public higher education. We must connect with them to express our values and hold them to the high standards on which they campaigned and for which they were elected.

You can join this conversation with the thousands of other students, faculty, staff and supporters at the UCR advocacy network at http://www.ucforcalifornia.org/riverside/home/. This site provides a way of communicating your support for public higher education to your elected representatives in Sacramento.

Millions of Californians made their voices heard on Tuesday. It is now our responsibility to have our voices heard on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other day of the week.

Fiat Lux,


Tim White, Chancellor

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A Highlander in the World Series
Congratulations to UCR’s own Dan Runzler, a Highlander pitcher before joining this year’s World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. Runzler was part of the 2007 Highlander squad that captured the school’s first Big West Conference Baseball Title since joining Division I.

Timely Post-Election Discussion
Toby Miller, chair of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, will be featured in a forum with former CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan about the role of television networks in political campaigns on Tuesday evening.

Keeping Riverside Beautiful
Our students were honored recently for keeping the city clean. They made themselves useful with rakes, shovels and trash bags. The city is a better place because of it.

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

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