When the amendments to the United States Constitution were drafted, speech was among the first protections listed in the Bill of Rights. Throughout the world, freedom of speech is often upheld as one of the defining characteristics of American democratic rights.
And yet, free speech can also feel uncomfortable when people with whom we disagree freely speak their opinion. Then, there are the matters of when, where, and why to use our voice while considering the impact our words may have and the consequences.
This month, these topics have come into focus as reaction to war in Israel and Gaza impacted the UC Riverside community. A few days ago, I received this letter from two members of our faculty who are facilitating important discussions on campus. I see this letter as a hopeful sign for productive dialogue.
Last month I shared a link to a training video when sending out the Principles of Community. The UCR free speech website also provides trainings on other aspects of free speech and may be a helpful resource if you are working with students who have questions.
I am hopeful we can enter into a season of constructive conversations regarding the tragic events taking place in the Middle East and their profound and personal impact on many members of our campus community.
Department of Energy to the People
As mentioned in my September message, we are preparing to host the Department of Energy on November 7, for the first-ever DOE to the People event, a full day of workshops and presentations by DOE representatives on topics of interest to faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, recent alumni, and regional business partners.
We especially encourage researchers working in areas that intersect with sustainability, new fuels, science communication, and logistics, to consider attending. More information and registration links are available here. If you work with students please encourage their participation as this event offers access to numerous career and funding opportunities.
This year’s Homecoming activities include a robust schedule of events for alumni and their guests as well as students. The alumni weekend of November 4 includes an exclusive UCR Alumni Concert Featuring TLC, college receptions, and several mixers. Then, students will be invited to Homecoming Odyssey on November 17 followed by the Spirit of the Tribes 5K (which is open to anyone) on November 18.
These events help our current and former students remain connected to UCR. You can learn more about the schedule here.
International Travel Guidance
As we are in a period of heightened risk in certain parts of the world, our colleagues in Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety have prepared a helpful reminder to support the safety and well-being of university travelers. Please take a few moments to review the current guidelines and resources for university-related international travel.