Sunday, July 21

Chancellor Gene Block discusses intolerant speech, freshman admission


The Daily Bruin spoke with Chancellor Gene Block about free speech concerns and out-of-state student admissions.  (Ken Shin/Daily Bruin)

The Daily Bruin spoke with Chancellor Gene Block about free speech concerns and out-of-state student admissions. (Ken Shin/Daily Bruin)


Chancellor Gene Block meets with members of the Daily Bruin Editorial Board every quarter to discuss issues affecting campus and explain administrative policies and decisions. At the meeting Monday, Block, who was joined by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Janina Montero, Dean of Students Maria Blandizzi and Associate Vice Chancellor of University Communications and Marketing Kathryn Kranhold, spoke about the university’s response to leaked Pi Kappa Phi meeting minutes, free speech on campus and concerns about standards for admission of out-of-state students.

  • Block said the university is still investigating the statements made in the leaked Pi Kappa Phi meeting minutes. He added he is disappointed by the situation and hopes students have become more sensitive since the incident occurred in 2013.
  • Blandizzi added the university has communicated with the Greek community to express administrators’ concerns and is deciding how to move forward with holding people accountable for the incident.
  • Montero added the university has sent letters to communities of color on campus, as well as the LGBT community and Bruin Consent Coalition, and will discuss the incident in future meetings with these groups.
  • Block said the First Amendment protects the UCLA students who denounced the validity of identifying as transgender in a photo posted on social media sites, but added he hopes the students understand how they have offended others in expressing themselves.
  • Montero said investigations into the Social Justice Referendum’s policy violations during student government elections should be led by students. She added the chancellor’s office does not usually intervene in student politics.
  • Block said he thinks the university is in good shape to accommodate the additional 750 in-state students who will enroll in UCLA this fall. He added the university will have to increase the number of triples in on-campus housing and expand the number of discussion sections for certain courses.
  • Blandizzi added the New Student Orientation program will hire more new student advisers to accommodate the increase.
  • Block said he hopes Los Angeles wins the bid for the 2024 Olympics. He added he thinks there are enough resources available between UCLA and USC to host the event, so the International Olympic Committee would not have to construct any additional facilities.
  • Block said he is happy with UCLA’s position in national and global university rankings, and he thinks UCLA is doing well for a public school less than 100 years old.
  • He added the university has a no-tolerance policy toward sexual assault, and he wants students to feel safe and comfortable on campus. Block said Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang and Vice Chancellor of Academic Personnel Carole Goldberg have spoken with students following protests about how UCLA has handled sexual assault allegations against professor Gabriel Piterberg.
  • Block said admission data does not support the claims that there is a lower admission standard for out-of-state students. He added the average SAT score and unweighted GPA is higher for out-of-state students than for in-state students. Block said he thinks out-of-state students help in-state students by paying supplemental tuition and adding diverse perspectives to the university.
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