and all the other legends of UCLA basketball to rescue the program John Wooden built. It's not your job alone, of course. Many people who love UCLA have written on this website about Ben Howland and Dan Guerrero.
We live in an era where politicians often sneer at the idea of accountability. A few well-chosen words, and it's back to business as usual. That's what I think happened with the quotes just posted from Chancellor Block, Guerrero and Howland. I can't imagine those remarks being made without a dose of contempt and cynicism.
For whatever reasons — and I've been unable to identify them to my satisfaction — UCLA's administration has decided that a well-run athletic program is no longer a priority. No one, of course, is demanding an unending string of championships. But what about pride, determination and intensity? Have they been part of recent UCLA basketball teams?
Here's another question: Has Dan Guerrero's stewardship of UCLA athletics made you feel that UCLA's tradition will be evident to the next generation?
The six of you and so many others (I think of someone like John Vallely, for example) have given so much to our school. Stand with us now. Tell the chancellor that the way the athletic department has done business is no longer acceptable. That trying to seat students away from the center of action when Pauley Pavilion reopens is not acceptable. (Yes, I know that plan was eventually canceled, but that was only after a furor on Bruins Nation.)
We're the school where Jackie Robinson forged his future, contributing not just to baseball but a better country. We're the school where Ralph Bunche studied (on the Vermont Avenue campus) and first awakened to the possibilities of a role in the larger world, eventually receiving the Nobel Prize for his work at the United Nations.
I began at UCLA in 1959, and as the campus grew around me, my interest in new and exciting ideas grew with it. The great thing about UCLA was that it achieved success in the world of athletics and academics. It wasn't necessary to choose just one — because they complemented each other.
I said earlier that politicians often sneer at the idea of accountability. And obviously there are some things we can't change in the world, at least for now. But do we have to settle for second best for our alma mater? The place where we planted our roots and embarked on a journey into career and family?
You have done so much for our collective pride. Stand with us now in making an audacious demand: UCLA should be all that it can be and not a distant memory.