Principles of Community Week Kick-Off Ceremony

Principles of community text

Principles of Community Week Kick-Off Ceremony

Thank you, Hendry, and, hello, everyone! I can’t help but feel inspired when we celebrate our UC Davis Principles of Community. I love that at UC Davis, we come together every year to reinforce our university’s foundational values … to honor our differences … and to reaffirm our respect for others.

We’re guided by our Principles of Community. These are commitments that help us maintain a climate of mutual respect, equity, inclusion and social justice.

We value students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds to create the most dynamic and intellectually vibrant campus possible. And we understand that a commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence contributes to our success as a university.

We hold these values deeply and they’re embedded in everything we do at UC Davis. We carry these values in our work and in our interactions on campus and in our surrounding communities.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our Principles of Community are available, not only in English, but also in Chinese, Hmong, Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese.

It’s a great reminder of the wonderful diversity of our campus community. Our students come from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and three territories. And they come from 114 different countries.

They bring different perspectives, different backgrounds and life experiences. And like each of us, they contribute to the rich diversity of our campus community.

I was drawn to UC Davis in large part because of its commitment to diversity. I wanted to be at a university that embraces and celebrates people of different nationalities, gender identities, those from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and those with a variety of political views, talents and skill sets.

One of our strategic plan goals is to make UC Davis a model for diversity and inclusion in higher education. We want to support a culture that values the contributions and aspirations of all our students, staff and faculty. A culture that promotes wellness and cultivates the open interchange of ideas.

A number of recent, impressive rankings attest to the progress we’re making.

UC Davis is #1 in the nation for campus diversity, inclusiveness, and internationalization, according to the QS USA University Rankings.

Forbes named both UC Davis and UC Davis Health among the Best Employers for Diversity for excellence in cultivating diversity through inclusive practices.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is ranked #4 for diversity among its students by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, it is the top-ranked medical school for diversity outside of the East Coast.

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing received the 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. It is one of only 50 health professions colleges and universities in the nation to receive this recognition by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

On that note, I want to thank Vice Chancellor Renetta Garrison Tull, Associate Vice Chancellor Hendry Ton and the DEI teams working on both campuses to continue making progress on this strategic plan goal.

I also want to acknowledge everyone who helped with this year’s Principles of Community Week. That includes: the UC Davis Health Principles of Community Planning Committee; the African American Faculty and Staff Association; Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance at UC Davis Health; the Latinx Staff and Faculty Association; DiversABILITY; PRIDE; the Staff Diversity Administrative Advisory Committee; Staff Assembly; the Center for Educational Effectiveness; The Center for Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives in Social Science, Arts, and Humanities, or CAMPSSAH;  Student Assistants to the Chancellor; the Interfaith Campus Council; Josh Hori, UC Davis Accessibility Coordinator; Jasper Lounds, coordinator for the LGBTQIA Resource Center; and Vickie Gomez, Director of Campus and Regional Community Engagement.

I always say, “Diversity is everybody’s job.” And it’s the same with our Principles of Community. So, I truly appreciate your enthusiasm and commitment to our Principles of Community and making our campus better. Your engagement makes a difference.

Our Principles of Community were first drafted in 1990, during a somewhat turbulent time on campus – when discrimination, social justice and multi-culturalism led to a rise in student activism. They demanded more vigorous recruitment and support of those from underrepresented ethnic groups.

Here we are, almost 30 years later, and these Principles feel more relevant than ever. They’ve become a defining element of our campus community and serve as a guiding light as UC Davis becomes more diverse and global by the year.

Living up to our Principles of Community means we can honor our differences and still celebrate our common ground.

It means we recognize the value we all bring to UC Davis, no matter what our background or point of view may be. 

It means that in times of heated rhetoric, we uphold free expression but condemn speech meant to taunt or terrorize.

This week, on our Sacramento and Davis campuses, students, faculty and staff are taking part in conversations that foster understanding and build community. There are some wonderful events planned for Principles of Community week.

More than anything, this week provides an opportunity to reinforce our shared values that make UC Davis an incredibly welcoming and inclusive place. 

Thank you all for being here.



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