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The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

BREAKING – UC President Announces Plans to Increase Student Safety throughout UC Campuses following tensions in Israel and Palestine

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Image by Robert Durell for The UCSD Guardian
Photo Courtesy of Robert Durell

University of California President Michael V. Drake announced on Nov. 15 that the UC administration plans to take further steps in addressing the “alarming acts of bigotry, intolerance, and intimidation,” witnessed on its campuses following escalating violence in the Gaza Strip. 

Delineated at today’s UC Board of Regents Meeting, Drake’s remarks highlighted an appointed funding pool for health and educational aims, the creation of a new Systemwide Office of Civil Rights, and a collaborative effort between UC campuses’ Directors of Community Safety.

A total of $7 million from the UCOP’s $1228.1 million budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year has been appointed by Drake to support highly-requested emergency mental health aid, neutral educational forums, and UC leadership competency. These areas will receive $3 million, $2 million, and another $2 million dollars, respectively. Specifically, educational funding has been created to seek the introduction of programs across all campuses meant to “improve the public discourse” on issues related to antisemitism, Islamophobia, extremism, and the Middle East through a neutral showcase of regional history. 

Meanwhile, the UC administration has directed the new funding for its leadership sector towards training sessions to guide UC educative authorities to make the most out of their roles during times of crisis. Dates and details regarding both aforementioned initiatives remain unknown. 

Although broad goals have been established for every beneficiary area, specific uses of these newly distributed funds remain vague and will seemingly vary depending on each campus’ administration. The UCSD Guardian reached out to UCSD representatives to inquire about campus-specific plans but have not yet received a response.

In an effort to reassert safety as a priority amidst the UC’s communities’ conflictive climate, Drake confirmed the year-long development of a new Systemwide Office of Civil Rights at the UC Office of the President. As a response to UC communities’ statewide feedback and needs, SOCR’s mission has been declared as “[providing] guidance and support on issues related to protecting civil rights.” Said purpose has shaped SOCR into an ‘umbrella’ office, which is foresighted to overtake the duties of UCOP’s existing Title IX office and the new systemwide Anti-Discrimination Office and Disability Rights Office. 

Previously, Title IX exclusively concentrated on matters of gender discrimination, but its incorporation into SOCR came to being in order to frame this new office as an effort to enact UC communities’ developments regarding the University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, according to Drake. SOCR’s responsibilities have also been outlined to create specialized responses to antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate relevant to the ongoing crisis in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

SOCR’s specific resources and their availability have yet to be disclosed. The office is set to begin operations across all 10 UC campuses, national labs, and medical centers in the upcoming Spring Quarter. Until then, Drake has assured that students’ critical role in reporting acts of harassment and discrimination will be reinforced through enhancements made to the systemwide Whistleblower hotline and local campus channels. As of the publishing of this article, UC San Diego has not released its take on preparations leading up to the unveiling of the SOCR.

Drake also emphasized a rise in communication with systemwide Director of Community Safety Jody Stiger and his campus-specific counterparts. UCSD’s Community Safety and Security Advisory Committee has yet to address their complementing plans to Stiger’s efforts.

Drake summarized the UCOP’s standing intentions during his closing remarks. 

“Today we are doubling down on who we are: an educational institution that’s guided by facts and data, but also a moral compass that helps us find our way to compassion and understanding in difficult moments,” he said. 

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About the Contributor
Natalia Montero Acevedo, Associate News Editor
A Political Science major, Natalia Montero loves to engage with on-site reporting to connect with communities’ affairs. Be warned, she will bombard you with random facts about whatever book she’s currently reading. She will also make sure to bring up The Sound of Music, Mitski, and Roger Deakins’ or Justine Triet’s work in whatever conversation she’s in.
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