Chancellor's Friday Letters

Supporting Help at Home and Abroad

Supporting Help at Home and Abroad

October 28, 2011

Dear Friends,

Potpourri Friday… Thailand floods; intercollegiate athletics.

The Thailand floods.  As a global research university with students from more than 60 countries, it is no surprise that disasters around the world touch some members of the close-knit UCR family very personally.  So is it with the floods now ravaging parts of Thailand.

And with such disaster comes response.  I never cease to be proud of the spirit and initiative of our campus community.  Kelly Hinosawa, of our International Education Center, without prodding or fanfare reached out to our Thai students as news emerged about the floods.  We have 20 students from Thailand on campus… and many more domestic students who have family and friends near Bangkok.

Kelly wrote to our students: “Our thoughts are with everyone in Thailand due to the recent flooding and evacuations.  We hope that your friends and family are safe. Please take a moment to let us know how you are doing and what we might be able to assist with…The campus is here to assist you in any way possible.”

Many students replied.  One began with “Thanks for asking,” and finished with “Thank you for your kindness.”  There is a lesson in those few words for all of us.

The substance of this letter included: “Unfortunately, the flooding… is very bad. Even though all my family members are safe and our home hasn’t been flooded yet (and it will be), the living situation in Bangkok is pretty bad due to the scarce food and clean drinking water… Also the economic [impact], currently the 3 biggest industrial areas have been flooded, so lots of factories are closing down, which has a great effect on many other businesses as well… However, the business part is not the worst thing. Currently there are millions of people who lost their homes and hundreds of people died. So currently, UCR Thai club is having a fund raising project to donate money back to Thailand.”

Hearing this message from one of our students brings the disaster closer to home than do the news images from the flooded areas.

I know you join me in holding the people of Thailand (and also of Turkey following the recent earthquakes) in our thoughts, and that you also find a degree of comfort and pride knowing that those associated with UCR create a campus community that cares and reaches out to be helpful.

Intercollegiate Athletics.  Changing gears to a domestic matter…  I was elected to the Division I Board of Directors of the NCAA this past August and our quarterly meeting was earlier this week in Indianapolis. The Board is composed of eighteen university presidents and chancellors.  If you follow intercollegiate athletics, you are aware of the significant national academic, integrity, and resource issues that have come to the fore of late.

The NCAA took action Thursday to initiate a series of reforms that will lead this enterprise to better comport with the core values of the collegiate model of athletics, in which athletics is embedded in the values of higher education including shared responsibility and accountability. One action implements a new progressive penalty structure that bans teams, not just individual players, from participation in any postseason competition if the team demonstrates a multi-year academic performance below acceptable academic standards.

Steps were also taken to adopt more rigorous initial eligibility standards for student-athletes coming out of high school as well as for 2-year college transfers.  Additional decisions were made with the goals of improving student-athlete well-being and reforming the rules to focus efforts on those that are consequential and enforceable.

More specific actions will come from the Board in the new year.  Reform is necessary, but it won’t be without controversy and pushback.  You can learn more at: http://www.ncaa.org/resources

With best wishes,


Tim White, Chancellor

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Looking for performances that will entertain and make you think? Try the UC Riverside Presents cultural arts series. Coming up on Saturday, November 5th in our University Theatre: the Creole Choir of Cuba.

What else is happening on campus?  View: http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

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