Affirmative Action, Education / Schools, Law Professors, Law School Deans, Law Schools, Minority Issues, Racism

Racism Abounds At UCLA School of Law


Dear Students,

It has come to my attention that some individuals may be removing properly posted informational flyers from our bulletin boards.

I am writing to remind you that UCLA School of Law is dedicated to providing an engaging intellectual environment that is respectful and welcoming to all. All material posted on the bulletin boards in our hallways is there to inform our students and the greater community about the important events and activities taking place on this campus. The content of these displays should be respected at all times. Tampering with this material will not be tolerated.

We are an esteemed law school, training the professional leaders of the future. I expect all members of our community to conduct themselves as professionals in this environment, respecting each other and working together to maintain our valued quality of life at UCLA School of Law.


Rachel F. Moran

Dean and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law
UCLA School of Law


Dear Students,

It has come to my attention that a disgusting and hateful note was placed in the mailbox of one of our students at the Law School. I am appalled, deeply disappointed, and profoundly pained that a member of our community would be subjected to such an abusive and cruel act.

I want to make very clear that this behavior is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated at UCLA School of Law. A UCLA police investigation is underway, and any student found to have participated in harassment or abuse of any other individual in violation of the UCLA Student Code of Conduct will be subject to University disciplinary proceedings.

Norms of tolerance and civility define us as a community; the breach of those norms is an injury not just to one but to all. Please remember that the way you conduct yourself toward others will define you not just as a professional but as a human being.

I am currently working together with my administration to schedule a safe opportunity for all interested students to join with us in constructive and respectful dialogue on this crucial matter, and will be relaying details shortly. I am also exploring additional options to respond to this incident and to what has become a very charged and tense environment for many of our students. UCLA should be a place of learning, engagement, and professional and personal growth, not one of ugliness, disrespect and intolerance. I am deeply committed to improving and restoring an atmosphere of collegiality, tolerance and respect.


Rachel F. Moran

Dean and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law
UCLA School of Law


Nearly a generation has passed since Californians voted to end affirmative action in admission to public colleges and universities and today we have suffered for it.

With each passing year campuses all across our state – and, increasingly, the nation as copycat laws are passed – fail to accurately reflect the growing diversity in our communities. Too often, many of our students of color feel isolated, as strangers in their own house. Others feel targeted – mocked or marginalized, rather than recognized and valued.

At UCLA, our students are bold, confident and among the sharpest anywhere. We are proud every time we hear them convey their thoughts, experiences and feelings – as they have done recently in several now viral videos and by organizing town halls and rallies.

Anyone still unconvinced by the true impacts of Proposition 209 simply need only listen to their powerful first-hand accounts. Their words, of course, are much bigger than UCLA – and it’s not surprising that they’ve found a national audience. We need only to look at the remarkable and numerous accomplishments of pre-209 alumni from now underrepresented groups at UCLA to fully recognize the disservice we do to California and our nation when these talented and deserving students are too often absent from our Bruin family.

We’ve tried to address the issues caused by 209, working within the letter of the law. In recent years, UCLA has begun evaluating the full range of each applicant’s academic and personal achievements, within the context of opportunities and challenges each has faced. And yet we continue to fall far short of the diversity California’s public colleges and universities enjoyed before voters approved Prop 209 in 1996.

While it’s important to understand the underlying root cause of many of these issues – a cause some leaders in our state are now looking to reverse – throwing up our hands and hoping in vain that things will get easier is simply insufficient and unacceptable. We must and will continue to search for new and innovative ways to achieve diversity within the confines of the law, but we as Californians must also re-examine flawed policy and find a way to better serve our students.

We must do more. We have a responsibility to do better.

Today I call upon my colleagues on UCLA’s faculty to re-examine the creation of an undergraduate general education requirement focused on diversity. We are the only UC campus that does not have one. We have no excuses. Let’s make this happen in 2014. While we cannot impact the diversity of our campus to the extent we’d like, we can work to enrich all of our students’ experiences here and better prepare them to live and work in a complex global environment. Our faculty owe it to our students to address curricular changes that can only add to the understanding and appreciation of our Nation’s diversity.

I also want to assure you that our previously promised efforts are well underway. The Moreno report Implementation Committee chaired by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh is fully engaged in this work and will give me a full update at the end of this academic year. With the help of the Implementation Committee, we are also finalizing a job description for the new position of Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and expect to announce the search by the end of next quarter. And we will soon post positions for two diversity prevention officers – going beyond the one position recommended in the Moreno Report – who will report to the new vice chancellor and investigate any reported allegations of racial and ethnic bias or discrimination among our faculty as well as providing education and training.

These are only first steps.

We all know we’re going to confront racism, bigotry, isolation and anger again, like the horribly offensive flyer sent to our Asian American Studies Center recently. Try as we might, on our campus or out in the world beyond, they still exist in some forms. What matters is how we respond. At UCLA, at the very least, we must support each other. We must listen to one another.

Make no mistake: Conversations about race can be very difficult. They are inevitably emotional. They can make people defensive. They sometimes lead to accusations. But we cannot be afraid to have these conversations, because they are so critically important not just to our university, but to society. And if we cannot have productive discussions about race here, on a campus with the world’s thought leaders and students committed to knowledge and inquiry, then where?

While we may differ on strategy and ideas at times, we all want a campus that embraces and elevates each of us. And that’s why we must continue talking, debating and looking for solutions.

Most important of all, we must learn to trust one another. I also appreciate that trust is earned and, among our critics, we must and will work harder to earn it.

-Chancellor Gene Block

Earlier: Racists’ T-Shirts On Campus? Only If You Bother To Think About It
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