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Chancellor-designate Julio Frenk answers media questions after his appointment

Julio Frenk, the chancellor-designate of UCLA, answered questions from the media about his appointment Wednesday. (Zimo Li/Photo editor)

By Dylan Winward

June 12, 2024 1:01 p.m.

Chancellor-designate Julio Frenk said he would prioritize rebuilding trust after recent campus protests during a press conference Wednesday. 

“Trust is not received. It’s earned,” he said.

Frenk was appointed as Chancellor by a unanimous vote of the UC Board of Regents Wednesday, with his appointment effective January. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt will serve as interim Chancellor from August until Frenk begins his tenure.

UC President Michael Drake said one of the reasons the University selected Frenk is his commitment to connecting communities, a skill Drake added that few people possess. Frenk said he will prioritize modeling positive ways of discussing disagreement as Chancellor, including through UCLA’s Dialogue Across Differences initiative – a project that involves classes and student leadership opportunities. 

“We need to build bridges among disciplines, among geographies,” Frenk said. “Good universities are bridge builders intrinsically and I hope to very much be part of that and contribute to that.”

Frenk also said he will work to balance protecting free expression with ensuring that the university can provide a learning environment free from harassment and discrimination. 

[Related: SJP AND UC DIVEST COALITION DEMONSTRATIONS AT UCLA]

At his current role as President of the University of Miami, Frenk received criticism for firing the dean of the university’s law school without consulting faculty. However, on Wednesday, Frenk said he plans to work closely with university stakeholders at UCLA, including by meeting with members of the university before September to learn more about their concerns.

“I will be exercising my listening skills to be able to meet with every constituency: with the faculty, the staff, the students, the alumni (and) our regents,” he said. “I’m excited to be part of President Drake’s team of other Chancellors. I look forward to also getting to know the rest of the system.”

[Related: Votes to censure, express no confidence in Gene Block fail in UCLA Academic Senate]

Frenk said Los Angeles has always been an important place to him because of the large Mexican population in the city. Chair of the Board of Regents Richard Leib said the role of UCLA Chancellor involves being a prominent figure in Los Angeles and Angelinos will be lucky to have Frenk.

Leib added that Frenk, who was previously the Mexican government’s secretary of Health and dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will bring valuable experience to the UCLA Health system, which reports to the campus Chancellor. 

Frenk said he is also committed to diversity and “inclusive excellence,” adding that he believes universities are the main source of opportunity and social mobility in modern society. He said he hopes to connect researchers across different disciplines when he arrives on campus and is excited to start work at UCLA in January.

“I approach this designation with great excitement and also with humility,” Frenk said. “I have always been in admiration of institutions that manage to excel at what they do and UCLA is one of those impactful and innovative institutions of higher learning.”

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Dylan Winward | News editor
Winward is the 2024-2025 News editor and an Arts, Copy, Photo, PRIME and Sports contributor. He was previously the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. Winward is a third-year English and statistics student from London in the United Kingdom.
Winward is the 2024-2025 News editor and an Arts, Copy, Photo, PRIME and Sports contributor. He was previously the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. Winward is a third-year English and statistics student from London in the United Kingdom.
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