War advisory group formed

    UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes announced the formation of the Special Advisory Committee on War Related Matters on March 19. The goal of the committee is to advise the chancellor about the impact of global conflict on the campus community.

    “”I want to reassure you that we have developed comprehensive plans for enhancing campus safety, sustaining campus operations, and issuing timely news updates,”” Dynes stated in a March 20 campus notice.

    The committee is composed of a dozen representatives from different areas of campus operations.

    “”Part of the goal is to make sure that the campus isn’t being reactive, but being proactive and preventive and educational,”” said committee co-chair Darlene V. Willis, executive administrative officer for the vice chancellor of student affairs.

    Currently, the committee meets weekly with the chancellor to keep him apprised of campus events and to recommend policy changes that are related to the war.

    In addition, the committee will serve as a communication vehicle to the campus community.

    “”We feel that it’s our responsibility to make sure that the campus community is knowledgeable,”” said Linda M. Williams, assistant chancellor and co-chair of the committee.

    One of the committee’s objectives is to make sure the Principles of Community are upheld during this time.

    “”These principles promote open expression within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity, and respect,”” Dynes wrote in a March 19 campus notice.

    Campus security is another major part of the committee’s agenda.

    “”Our officers are alert, we are always looking for suspicious activity, things that we perhaps can identify as potential threats on campus, and we continue to do that,”” said UCSD Police Chief and committee member Orville King.

    King expressed appreciation that recent demonstrations relating to the war have been peaceful. King also stated that the department has the resources available to deal with any unrest that may occur, although he does not expect any violent protests.

    “”We are going to manage this campus safely irrespective of the direction of the war,”” King said.

    Committee member Carmen Vazquez, assistant vice chancellor of student life, said that the university has a unique and special role in protecting the safety, health, well being and free speech of everyone on campus.

    “”These are very stressful times that are taxing on people,”” Vasquez said. “”Know that UCSD will work with [students] on an individual level, we will have the resources and the support available to help [students] in the context of a university community.””

    While initial appointments to the committee have been made, Vazquez said the composition of the committee can change as conditions warrant.

    “”As our nation heads into war with Iraq, many of us in the University of California family feel a close connection to events occurring abroad,”” UC President Richard C. Atkinson wrote in a March 19 letter to the UC community.

    “”While there may be disagreements within the University community over the advisability of military action in Iraq, it is important that we all remember, now more than ever, the important role the University plays as a place of reasoned inquiry and civil discourse,”” Atkinson wrote.

    Atkinson mentioned that the university is working closely with its study centers overseas to ensure the safety of students in the Education Abroad Program.

    Atkinson and Dynes expressed concern about students and staff with family and friends in the military.

    “”Throughout this stressful period, I ask each of you to make a special effort to extend courtesy to your colleagues, especially to those whose loved ones are serving in the Armed Forces,”” Dynes stated.

    Dynes made clear that even though “”this will not be a ‘business as usual’ time,”” scheduled classes and examinations will not be interrupted.

    Currently, the UCSD Police Department has not been affected by the activation of military reservists.

    With the national terror threat level raised to orange, campus residents will likely see an increase in the visibility of residential security officers. Officers are not currently on special scheduling.

    In the event that the terror threat level is raised to “”severe,”” plans are in place to increase officer coverage throughout campus. Support from the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Sheriff will continue to be available as needed.

    Jeffrey Philpott, committee member and dean of student affairs at Earl Warren College, expressed hopes that the committee can continue to facilitate and safeguard an environment where respectful dialogue can freely occur.

    “”Our war effort really should be doing the very best that we can do at UCSD,”” Philpott said.

    Philpott expressed concern that students may feel a sense of uneasiness that he hopes the committee can combat.

    “”I, as someone who works here as a campus constituent just like any of the students or staff or faculty, would like to believe that the university is doing everything it can possibly do to ensure our safety and our well-being. I think that’s what this committee is really about,”” Philpott said.

    Willis sees one of the strengths of the committee as its composition of faculty, students and staff with diverse areas of expertise.

    “”I applaud [Chancellor Dynes]. I think we have a great team,”” Willis said.

    The creation of special committees during war time is not unique. Officials at UC Berkeley have created a special war advisory committee as well.

    Other committee members include Nicholas A. Aguilar, director of Student Policy and Judicial Affairs; Jenn Brown, A.S. president; Kate Callen, University Communications senior writer; Dolores Davies, University Communications; Tom Fleming, Graduate Students Association president; and Rick Vanderknyff, Blink Web manager.

    A faculty member who will co-chair the committee has been chosen, but has not yet accepted appointment to the position.

    Already, two Web sites have been set up to inform the campus of war-related activities and resources. Links can be found at http://www-chancellor.ucsd.edu and http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/warinfo.

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