UCLA

Crisis Point

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Published Oct 1, 2006 12:00 AM


Let the Leaders Lead: What should the administration do?

Kayise: There is a role the administration plays in pointing a direction, in articulating where we are as a campus and in guiding the faculty in the decisions they make.

Lifka: It's impossible to get away from the reality that the voice of the campus on commitment, both externally and internally, is the chancellor. That's a key component.

Parker: You're speaking of leadership and commitment. How do we take this message beyond our table and make sure this is a predominant message?

Lokman: In part, that's what we're doing here. I think it's clear even from this conversation that we have to listen better, we have to network better. People have to see and hear action. We have to utilize all of the tools we have, whether it's a magazine or community-based media, or outreach to community organizations. Those are all ways that we can be a visible presence and also build understanding and get people to work together for solutions.

O'Brien: I have a question in relation to the role of the chancellor. There is a search going on right now. It's fairly isolated from the campus and highly secret. Is this sense of crisis getting communicated in the recruitment process?

Parker: We have a responsibility that whoever that new chancellor is, to make sure the chancellor understands the context of where they're coming to in terms of history, legacy and point of time. And help reinforce that commitment, where that new chancellor has the safety net to be a risk-taker, to make some bold decisions that we might not have made in the past.

Flennaugh: This really is an opportunity for UCLA to push the envelope. How do we conceptualize merit? What does diversity really mean? How do we make students feel comfortable? And if we let this opportunity go by, it will be a tragedy.

Lokman: This is Los Angeles. If we can't be bold and entrepreneurial here, where can we be?

Lifka: You hate to think that 20 years from now, another group like this is sitting around talking about the same thing. Because the society has really failed to address the deepest roots of this problem, which go beyond what we have any immediate control over.

O'Brien: We address deeply rooted problems all the time, whether it's stem cell research or mental disorders or computer science. Our job is to take on deeply rooted social problems and make a difference. If a university like UCLA cannot do it — and there are very few universities like UCLA in the world — I don't know where it can be done.

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