Dear Members of the UCSB Community:
This is a very serious moment in history and a time of grave concern for us all. With the United States now at war, we must remember that a university bears special responsibility for ensuring free and open discussion and debate. This is an important role we play as a center for teaching and research – including and perhaps especially at a time of national crisis. Our campus remains open to such discourse, and we will do our utmost to see to it that such exchanges are at all times conducted with respect and civility.
One of the obvious implications of the war in Iraq will be heightened concern about homeland security. UCSB takes very seriously its responsibility to safeguard our campus, and I want to assure you that we are taking all appropriate precautions to provide for the safety of all members of our community as well as visitors to our campus. Our Campus Police are on high alert, and uniformed officers have increased their presence on campus and the frequency of their patrols in the residence halls. Added security measures also have been put in place at some public events on campus. In addition, key campus units on have developed plans to work with county, state, and federal agencies to help ensure the safety of members of our community in the event of an emergency.
The UC system has implemented precautionary measures at all of the centers operated by the Education Abroad Program as well as the UC center in Washington, D.C. Crisis and contingency plans at all such locations have been updated, and students are being provided with safety bulletins and recommendations.
We recognize that, while far removed from our campus, the war will produce a great deal of concern, anxiety, and stress among members of our community. The campus now has in place services to support and assist students and others who may experience stress because of concerns about the war, or about their own safety. Programs have been developed to identify and refer distressed students, and counseling services are available to all members of our campus community, including staff and faculty. Information on these and other campus resources is available at a special area of our web site (www.ucsb.edu/campus-topics/response/).
It is at times such as this that our campus demonstrates how it indeed is a community, a caring and thoughtful community. While members of our community might respond to international events in different ways, we all share a fervent wish for a peaceful and secure world. I appreciate your dedication to UCSB, and I thank you for your efforts to help our community respond to this crisis in productive ways.
Henry T. Yang