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Chancellor Gene Block on ethics statement, diversity requirement

By Chandini Soni

May 21, 2014 12:51 a.m.

Chancellor Gene Block meets with the Daily Bruin editorial board every quarter to discuss issues affecting campus and to explain administrative policies. At their meeting Tuesday, Block spoke about UCLA’s Centennial Campaign, his stance on the controversial Joint Statement on USAC Ethics, conflicts of interest and UCLA’s search for a discrimination officer, among other topics.

  • Block said about $250 million being raised as a part of UCLA’s Centennial Campaign will be set aside to fund future campus initiatives. The money used to put on the campaign’s fundraising events comes from various places, including the UCLA Foundation’s budget for advertising and gift announcements, he said.
  • Although Block said he was happy with the increase in funds for the university in Governor Jerry Brown’s budget, he said he had hoped for more funding for the UC in the May Revise.
  • The Joint Statement on USAC Ethics asked student government candidates to pledge not to take free or sponsored trips with certain pro-Israel lobbying organizations and non-student centered external groups while holding office. Block said the statement was ill-advised. He added that he did not talk to student groups before sending out a campus-wide statement in an email, but he spoke with Janina Montero, the vice chancellor for student affairs. “The rhetoric was heating up and I thought it was time to say something,” he said.
  • Block said he was unsure of whether the diversity requirement proposal would be completed as scheduled by the end of the quarter. While he did not know how much money would be required to implement the new requirement if it passed, he said the university would put in as much as is necessary.
  • The university is in the process of reviewing applications for the two staff level discrimination officer positions, Block said. The earliest a new vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion position will be filled is early 2015, he added.
  • All potential conflicts of interest that are brought to the university’s attention are closely examined, Block said. He added he was aware of UCLA Health President David Fienberg’s relationship with Lynda and Stewart Resnick, two of the university’s most prominent donors and owners of pomegranate juice company Pom Wonderful, regarding apparent conflicts of interest in pomegranate research.
  • The university is planning to increase diversity in transfer students at UCLA by identifying which community colleges have low transfer rates and working with them, Block said.

Compiled by Chandini Soni, Bruin senior staff.

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