The first time I took a tour of UCLA I noticed scrawling in white and pastel-colored chalk around Bruin Walk and Royce Quad. I asked the tour guide about the “chalking” and she mentioned something about a protest and affirmative action. Of course this was all relevant to me. The entering class of 1998 was the first to be admitted under the race-neutral admissions policies and the big decreases at UCLA and UC Berkeley had many students of color up in arms. All this was constantly drummed into my 17-year old head. I didn’t learn until later that one of the protests was held at Chancellor Carnesale’s inauguration at the newly renovated Royce Hall.
I never really liked Carnesale. My dislike wasn’t like antipathy towards former Regent Ward Connerly. It was just a general distrust of the admnistrators in Murphy Hall. It might have been the fact that he consistently said that his hands were tied in relation to diversity and admitting more students of color. Perhaps it was his willingness to call in LAPD officers to arrest over 80 students who had taken over Royce Hall. During his tenure the number of underrepresented students of color decreased. He never seemed like he didn’t care, he just didn’t want to go against the will of the Regents and said he valued diversity but his hands were tied. Despite that, I know his Blue & Gold Scholarship made it possible for many of my closest friends from low-income families to attend UCLA free.
Carnesale’s strength was as a fundraiser. Last year UCLA was the only public university in a list of top 10 fundraisers the top 10 best fundraisers.
He talked a lot about UCLA in LA and the responsibility of the university in fulfilling its mission of education, research and public service to meet the needs of its community. The UCLA in LA Initiative was great, but it always seemed ironic because I didnít see LA truly reflected in the makeup of students and faculty.
I’m far from sad to see him go, but I do know that many of the changes at UCLA since 1997 have been for the better. I hope that the new chancellor President Dynes and his search committee appoint to replace Carnesale when he officially leaves at the end of June 2006 will continue to ensure that UCLA fulfills its mission.