Chancellor's Friday Letters

Chancellor White’s Friday Letter of October 12, 2012

Chancellor White’s Friday Letter of October 12, 2012

October 12, 2012

Dear Friends,

Wednesday night, about 9:45 pm, I couldn’t get my candle to go out.

You know the type of candle.

It’s the small battery-driven faux-candle one uses at vigils. There were real candles available too, but it was breezy so I chose one wind wouldn’t blow out.

With candle in hand I stood side-by-side with somber students as they held a candlelight vigil at the base of the Boyd Bell Tower for Jason Wohlmuth, a talented UCR student who died in August.

He didn’t have to.

Family and friends at the vigil proclaimed, and I now amplify: Never Again.

Parents are not supposed to bury their children. College students are not supposed to bury their pals.

Jason was a bright, energetic and adventuresome man. He was smart, caring, and always helped, and he supported those about him. He grew up with a loving and supportive family. He found his spiritual God recently, and participated with friends and family to give to others, such as missionary work in Costa Rica.

Wednesday evening, Jason’s friends spoke, as did his family and fraternity brothers.

They all loved Jason’s smile and his dreadlocks. He enjoyed extreme sports, and pushed the boundaries with only a broken bone or two along the way.

He was smart, and contemplative. But Jason had another side that he kept from those who knew him and loved him. And who now mourn him.

He was so smart that he studied, on his own, the biochemistry and pharmacology of common prescription drugs, and how they interact together in the presence of alcohol. Jason’s Mom spoke about this to our students and all others who gathered Wednesday evening.

He challenged us to be different. So did his brother, a recent UCLA graduate. So did his two aunts, in between their sobs.

In August on one evening Jason felt the desire to get high, and tragically became intoxicated. Others at the party saw Jason, and told him to lie down on the couch and sleep it off.

For a young man who helped all around him, no one helped him at the moment of greatest need.

Nobody called 911.

He never awoke.

The family and friends shared openly these intimate details in the hope that Jason’s death not be in vain, and that there won’t be another such death. Hence their Never Again message to us.

To all who read this Letter, who have a need themselves or know of others who do, the lesson here is tragic and profound:
• Make good choices.
• Seek assistance if things at UCR or in life have you down (951-827-5531; http://deanofstudents.ucr.edu/emergencyCrisis/Pages/default.aspx).
• To do so is a sign of strength, not weakness.

And if someone has made a choice such as Jason, call 911.

As I reflected overnight on why my candle wouldn’t go out, it became clear. It’s because the flame of Jason’s short life endures.

Indeed, Never Again.



Tim White

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Red, blue, purple, green, L or I…VOTE
Voter registration ends Oct 22: californiastudentvote.org. Visit the UCR Exchange in the HUB area… where ASUCR’s voter registration headquarters are located. Here, students can also register and be educated about voting. Or vote early 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17 in the Student Services Building, Tartan & Tweed Room.

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
If you visit campus just after 10:15 a.m., next Thursday, a lot of people will be hiding under their desks. As part of their fitness routine they are getting ready for the Big One by practicing “drop, cover, and hold on” during the statewide earthquake drill. For information about other earthquake activities visit:

Beyond politics – the science of climate change
Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Bell Tower is the second annual “Refresh Riverside” fair hosted by UCR’s Earth Sciences faculty, staff and students. Learn the science behind one of the most discussed issues of our time.

Keep up with the latest at UCR Today

What else is going on at UCR? http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

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