Bumped. - BN Eds.
There has been quite a bit of back and forth about Chancellor Block's actions (or lack thereof) with respect to DG. This in turn has led to discussion about the proper place of athletics within UCLA, and whether athletic success matters in determining whether a university is "great". Here's my two cents.
First some definitions. There are "fans" and there are "grads". For this purpose, "fans" don't have ties to UCLA, other than as spectators with an interest (which could be rabid or not) in UCLA's success. Presumably fans see UCLA much more through an athletics lens, and judge the school primarily on that criterion. "Grads" went to UCLA, and therefore theoretically could have more vested interest than "fans". However, plenty of grads went to class, came home, went to class, came home, etc. So maybe not deep ties.
For example, I went to Stanford for grad school. But I never considered Stanford home, and I am fine with them winning (as long as they are not playing UCLA) but life goes on if they don't. "Grads" in this category presumably see UCLA much more through non-athletics lens, and measure the university accordingly.
Within the "grads" category, however, is a subset for which I use the term "alum". This is the category I fall in. When I compare the freshman I was in 1967 to the senior who graduated in 1971, there is a world of difference. Any success I had in the professional world was based on the foundation which was set at UCLA. I learned so much, and grew up in so many ways during my 4 years at UCLA. And here is the important part which Chancellor Block seems to miss.
The learning and growing did not take place 100% in a vacuum in the classroom. And my teachers were not only faculty members. I learned at Royce Hall, at Ackerman, at the Dickson Art Gallery, at the Sculpture Garden behind the waffle (I was a north campus student), in Rieber, on the intramural fields, and in Pauley Pavilion, in Drake Stadium, and at the Coliseum. Without the lessons I learned while watching UCLA sports, I would not be the same person, and I would be the worse for it. So, as an "alum", it makes me sick to see our proud heritage being undone day by day under the "stewardship" of DG. I feel the pain as if I were still in Westwood.
I will always be a Bruin, and will always be proud of the education I received at UCLA. But I am not proud to call myself a fan of the current athletic program. Dan Guerrero has taken that away from us. We have voted with our phone calls, our e-mails, and our checkbooks. But Chancellor Block has shown no public interest in the debacle currently unfolding in Morgan Center. Maybe he is agonizing, also. If so, he is sure fooling us with his silence. We are a public institution. Our employees, including Dan Guerrero, are public employees. The university depends on public and private support. And as the public support decreases, the need for private support to maintain UCLA's standards across the board (including academics)increases.
The buffoon actions of Dan Guerrero are directly responsible for decreased funds from the "alum" base. If Chancellor Block doesn't take action, then he becomes an enabler, and shares responsibility for the pain we alums feel. And if Chancellor Block cannot understand that learning takes place outside the classroom, including at Pauley and the Rose Bowl, then he is the wrong person for the job.