Dear UCLA Community,
Spring is a time of renewal. It is also a time to reflect on the months behind us and consider what the Summer and Fall might bring.
Having joined UCLA in September, I have been reflecting on all that I have learned from so many of you—students, staff, faculty, retirees and alumni of different identities, backgrounds, and experiences. Amidst our differences, I have heard the needs we share in common. COVID-19 has exhausted us and has caused many of us deep pain. We mourn those we have lost. We seek to recover our own health. Alongside this global crisis, the continued onslaught of hatred, violence and discord in America and the rise in discrimination takes a constant toll. Living and working remotely, feeling uncertainty about the future and our place in it can be hard to bear.
I also heard from so many of you, loudly and clearly, what you want from the campus, whether it be from the administration or other leadership groups, as well as from one another. Many yearn for community and for ways to create connections, to develop trust and to belong. There are calls for UCLA leadership to anticipate and respond to needs proactively. Still others have called for having a seat at the decision making table, to be included in how the university evolves out of this time of crisis and into a more promising future.
In response to what you have shared, and taking account of new conditions at UCLA and beyond, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) recognizes that we need to adapt to meet the moment. To do so, we are evolving our EDI @ UCLA mission. The world is changing and so must we.
First, we’re taking steps to improve and innovate ways to share information and to communicate. Our website has a new look, offering regular updates on our EDI Speakers series, such as the enlightening talk by Veda Ramsay-Stamps, executive director of the Crenshaw Family YMCA of Metro Los Angeles, who raised awareness about how UCLA can help those beyond our campus to expand educational access and empower youth. We’ve created a new space to center the many vital contributions you make to advance equity, diversity and inclusion called EDI Voices, with the latest issue featuring insights from members of the UCLA University Committee on Disability. On May 20, from 12pm-1pm, we will launch the first of our new EDI Forums, to meet the call for a space for UCLA community-building, dialogue and problem-solving. Each quarter, I will share additional news, resources and information through a campus update like this one.
Second, we’re committed to strengthening civil rights protections for all in our community. Taking account of the increase last year from the prior year in civil rights investigatory matters and the importance of the Moreno Recommendations Implementation Committee’s Final Report, EDI has been working within our office and with key UCLA partners to look at needed changes to strengthen our fight against all forms of discrimination and harassment and to improve accountability when it does occur. To that end, EDI’s Civil Rights Office, led by inaugural assistant vice chancellor Chandra Bhatnagar, was created in 2020 to unify the existing Discrimination Prevention Office, Title IX Office and Staff Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Office, to better serve our campus, including UCLA Health. We encourage everyone to report possible incidents of discrimination or harassment through our updated Report an Incident button, which links to additional resources, including those pertaining to sexual violence and sexual harassment available on the Title IX website.
Third, EDI’s BruinX Team, led by associate vice chancellor Margaret Shih, continues to advance the EDI mission through empirically validated methods to inform and affect change within UCLA, including the Data Hub, EDI Toolkits and other resources. With thanks to our Faculty Equity Advisors, we continue to advance efforts to improve diversity and inclusion within our faculty. When crises take place that cause hurt and harm, we also endeavor to provide a place to gather and to connect as Bruins, such as the March 8 event on #StopAsianHate & Reckoning with Recent Events.
Fourth, there is renewed awareness for the need to ensure that EDI efforts take place throughout UCLA. To advance EDI at UCLA, we need to build connections and work together to create a culture in which all can thrive. As we do so, EDI seeks to center student voices and leadership, including our dedicated Student Advisory Board, in our efforts to uphold dignity and inclusion for all. We are also engaged alongside many vital campus partners around core UCLA priorities including Rising to the Challenge, becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and charting a new course on public safety. Recalling the chancellor’s and my March 19 Bruin Post message to the campus community responding to the mass shooting in Atlanta, I am deeply concerned about the increase in hate crimes and racism in America and look to collaborate with you on collective action that can bring about meaningful change.
Finally, I invite you to meet the dedicated people on the EDI Team who work hard to advance our mission. Equity, diversity and inclusion are everyone’s responsibility; we need your help and appreciate your support. Thank you for being a part of what makes UCLA so special. Please share feedback with us at WeListen@equity.ucla.edu.
Anna Spain Bradley
Vice Chancellor, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion