March 17, 2021

UCI’s Commitment to Inclusion and Equity

Yesterday a young white man killed eight women in three separate attacks in the Atlanta area. Six of the eight victims were Asian.

There has been a long series of attacks on Asians and Asian-Americans across the nation in recent months, fueled by anti-Chinese political rhetoric during the pandemic and emblematic of long-standing discrimination that dates back well into the 19th century. It is possible that yesterday’s tragedy was motivated by anti-Asian sentiment. But we are also learning that it may have been motivated by anti-women violence or sex-worker violence or gender-based violence, which is also on the rise. It may also be another lesson relating to the lack of mental health resources. It may be yet another example of an epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings that I have had too many occasions to write about.

Whatever we learn in the hours and days to come, yesterday’s tragedy provides another opportunity for us to reinforce our values as a university.

We are committed to creating, providing and ensuring an environment for all the members of our community that is free from discrimination and prejudice; where each person, regardless of personal circumstances, is welcomed, included and respected; where there is a climate of equity and justice; and where we work through our divisions and disagreements through debate and discussion.

Our article of faith is that by deepening mutual respect and understanding, we provide an antidote to acts of violence, hate, and domination in society.

Further, when you come to UCI, when you join our community, whether as a student, a staff member, or as part of our faculty, you become part of this commitment. Each of us has the power to make a positive and constructive contribution, to make a difference in the life of another person. As Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Douglas Haynes wrote just yesterday, “It is not enough to expect equity for ourselves but fail to advocate on behalf of others; to support diversity without understanding the diverse communities that make up our community; to practice inclusion without confronting bias and prejudice; and honor free speech without using it for advancing inclusive excellence.”

Fiat Lux.

Chancellor Howard Gillman