Bumped. Good discussion on how to get to UCLA's clueless and tone-deaf Chancellor who has been looking the other way, while the tradition of UCLA's major revenue program has been destroyed under our incompetent athletic director. - BN Eds.
While reading through the many thoughtful posts on BN, I have started to feel that there is a subtly different approach to our esteemed Chancellor that can be taken. It shouldn't replace any of what people have already been saying, but I think one hue might be missing from the colorful invective that should be thrown into Blockhead’s face. It seems pretty clear that he doesn't care about the state of the athletic department, which is an unthinkable oversight for the head of a school like UCLA. But if this is true, then arguments about how Dan Guererror has allowed the football and basketball programs to slide into oblivion can only be so effective.
I think any communication with the Block should include a step-by-step explanation, illustrated if possible, in bright primary colors, of how the state of the athletics department reflects on every other aspect of UCLA, including his precious medical center – if he has no love for athletics to which we can appeal, then we should appeal to his love for other things. We should also explain how it reflects on his own ability to lead this University – if he has no love for athletics, it can’t hurt to appeal to his love for his own salary.
To that point, here’s the letter I recently sent to the Chancellor:
I understand that you are busy, with duties affecting many different aspects of UCLA. However, a man does not rise to your position without the ability to multi-task. Your lack of attention to what is happening with the athletics departments has created the impression that UCLA athletics are not important to you, but I present this question: what does it say about our University as a whole, from the drama department to the medical center, when the administrators allow students to bully and injure other students without repercussion. How does it reflect on a coach (read: teacher) who allows his student to treat someone that way? How does it reflect on an Athletic Director who publicly shows blind allegiance to such a coach and makes no attempt to hold him accountable? How does it reflect on a Chancellor, who seems to ignore the choices and inaction of his employees? And finally, how does it reflect on the university, across all its programs and colleges, that it pays such a high salary for an Athletic Director who is making no attempt to hold his basketball coach accountable.
I can understand that the basketball program is probably not your highest priority as Chancellor, and I do not believe that it should be. However, UCLA is a school with a rich and widely-known basketball culture, so the decline of the program has become publicly known. While the everyday success or failure of a specific team may not be important enough to require your direct attention, the mishandling of the entire athletics department and the way such mishandling reflects on the entire university should make its way to your desk.
In a thought process that anybody would undertake, the relatively unimportant troubles of the basketball program can be seen to represent the state of our university in toto: failure of the basketball program requires the attention of the coach; failure of the coach requires the attention of the AD; failure of the AD requires the attention of the Chancellor; if the Chancellor fails to attend to the AD, what else is he ignoring, especially at UCLA where athletics are such an important part of its legacy?
When our football and basketball teams make weekly appearances on national and regional television, and are featured in national magazines, it is hard to deny that the athletics program is at least one of the public faces of this university. Whether you think it is deserved or not, the state of our very public athletics program is an indication of the state of our university. You should care very much how the AD handles, or more appropriately, mishandles, events like the hiring of a new football coach, or how he unflinchingly supports a basketball coach, saying "Why when I even think about looking at someone else" when an ESPN exposé lists the reasons why he should be thinking about it. You should care because when the AD mishandles these situations, it reflects very poorly on you.
Finally, I want you to know, for the reasons stated above, that I will not be donating any money to UCLA while Dan Guerrero remains in its employment. I am a young attorney, with not a lot to give, so my decision won’t cripple the university by any means. But I am not the only who has informed you of this decision, am I? I am not the only one who will wait for Mr. Guerrero to go before they give you any money. Can you afford to wait any longer?
(This was my first BN post, and I want to quickly thank the BN managers who have made so much great information accessible that it has roused me from my lazy torpor. Fantastic work you guys are doing here.)