[Students] A Campus of Respect

chancellor at ucr.edu chancellor at ucr.edu
Fri May 15 10:47:21 PDT 2009

May 15, 2009

TO:		Faculty, Staff, and Students
		University of California, Riverside

FROM:		Chancellor Timothy P. White

RE:		A Campus of Respect

A core attribute of a major research university is the rich exchange of
diverse ideas, perspectives, and opinions.  At the University of California,
Riverside, our students, faculty, staff, and guests represent a myriad of
personal experiences and values that grow out of both differences and often
unrecognized similarities in culture, background, and outlooks.  Such
differences may include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language,
physical abilities, sexual orientation, sexual identity, socioeconomic
status, geographic region, and more.  We pride ourselves on this diversity,
and we are all richer for it.

As members of the UCR community, we are constantly learning and expanding
our vistas as we learn in the classroom, chat in the coffee shop, debate on
panels, challenge traditional assumptions, and engage in the exploration of
new ideas and the world around us.  We learn as much from one another as we
learn in formal instructional settings.  

At times these discussions may grow intense, even contentious.  But as we
share our often disparate views, we must always maintain a welcoming
environment of respect and civility.  We are blessed in this nation to have
the right—and privilege—of free speech.  It is because of this wealth of
opportunities for discourse that our students “live the promise” by emerging
to become leaders in this increasingly diverse, complex, and often
conflicted world.

With this right, however, comes responsibility.  As we engage in free
speech, we must do so in a way that is sensitive to other cultures and
perspectives.  The University of California, Riverside stands for the values
of openness, civility, and respectful dialogue.  We seek always to provide a
safe and welcoming environment that encourages intellectual growth and
spirited discussion.  And when necessary we must go further, denouncing
words that incite or acts of incivility, violence, bigotry, discrimination,
or intolerance.

Indeed, the University of California, Riverside, as a nationally prominent
public university, is an important crucible for the open and vigorous
exchange of ideas.  Whether an idea is accepted by some or discredited and
repugnant to most, the discourse surrounding the idea is critical to be able
to inform ourselves and others about the truths, wonders and outrages of
life – past, present and future.  If we disallow the freedom of expression
and the marketplace of ideas, we are all lessened in a way that will
challenge the core fabric of our society.  To paraphrase French philosopher
Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your
right to say it.”

I remind you of the Principles of Community that were established for our
campus.  They articulate our responsibility to support and show
consideration for one another.  Please take a moment to review them at:
http://chancellor.ucr.edu/documents/community.pdf.  These principles
continue to serve our campus well.

I have faith in the integrity and compassion of our students, faculty, and
staff.  I ask that you stand with me in making the University of California,
Riverside a shining example of an institution that encourages civil
discourse, invites and values a wide range of views, and nurtures scholarly
inquiry and creative thinking.  Above all, I ask that you treat one another,
our visitors, and our extended campus community with a deep and abiding


Timothy P. White

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