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War with Iraq

March 19, 2003


Dear Colleagues:

As our nation heads into war with Iraq, many of us in the University of California family feel a close connection to events occurring abroad. Some have strongly held views about the need for military action itself; have family members who may be involved in the fighting or who live not far from it; others have concerns for their personal safety here at home. It is
a time of understandable anxiety and uncertainty.

I want you to know, first, that the University is taking a number of steps to increase security. There will be increased vigilance and patrols, especially at campus population centers; increased scrutiny of non-University and commercial vehicles on campus; greater vigilance at public events; longer advance review and planning with event organizers; and hardening of access to critical buildings, to name just a few of the steps being taken.

We also are concerned about the well being of our students and staff in Education Abroad Program and are working closely with our Study Centers overseas to maximize the safety of these individuals.

The University has a Web site addressing many of these issues, available you at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/homelandsecurity/. The Web site's emergency preparedness page contains the Occupant Emergency Handbook, giving safety instructions for a number of possible emergencies. In addition, campuses have a variety of programs available for students, staff, and faculty who desire counseling or other support services. I hope you will take advantage of these services if they might be helpful.

Finally, while there may be disagreements within the University community over the advisability of military action in Iraq, it is important that we all remember, now more than ever, the important role the University plays as a place of reasoned inquiry and civil discourse. While emotions may run high, there can be no room on our campuses for violence or intolerance. I will continue to keep you informed of events as they affect the University.

Fiat Lux,

Richard C. Atkinson



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