#UCDavis chancellor statement on freedom of expression

Just received this from Ralph Hexter the #UCDavis Interim Chancellor. I think it is important and worth sharing.

Dear UC Davis Community,

I have no doubt that the next few years will be ideologically charged ones for many college campuses across the country. As I said at our Fall Convocation on “Inspiring Dialogue,” I cannot recall a moment in my lifetime when the discourse of our national community was more vitriolic and polarized. The situation has in no way moderated since then.

While the state of national discourse may be beyond my power as an individual to repair, here I want to address an issue we have faced more than once in recent years on our campus and about which we can make a difference. Because UC Davis is a public university, our faculty and duly registered student clubs are allowed to invite speakers with diverse perspectives to share their views and insights with the larger community. Consistent with our legal responsibilities, we do not screen these speakers based on the content of their views. We have for many years received demands from individuals in our community to ban invited speakers whose views they found objectionable, and those demands have recently intensified. Again, consistent with our legal responsibilities, grounded in the First Amendment to the Constitution, we do not exercise prior constraint on speech.

We understand that controversial speakers may well inspire protest, and we fully support properly conducted protests. Protesters, too, enjoy free speech protections, but like all expression, protest is subject to time, place, and manner restrictions. Unfortunately, at one event last year, protestors shouted down and for a time physically blocked the audience from observing a speaker. Recently, a student club invited a speaker with views abhorrent to many. On this occasion, protesters managed to prevent the orderly entry of ticketed audience members to the lecture hall so that the the speech was cancelled before it could even begin.

I am mindful that some speakers may be extremely upsetting to members of our community, particularly to those who believe they are targets of the speech. I am mindful as well of our own UC Davis Principles of Community as well as the UC Regents’ Principles Against Intolerance. However, I am also vigilant about our obligation to uphold everyone’s First Amendment freedoms. This commitment includes fostering an environment that avoids censorship and allows space and time for differing points of view. Like most places of higher learning and teaching, UC Davis is a community for all ideas, and our campus is committed to ensuring that all members are allowed to freely hear, express, and debate different points of view. In the incidents I described above, we fell short of permitting free expression and exchange of ideas.

Our First Amendment rights are treasures provided to every member of our American community, but those rights do not include the silencing of speakers or blocking of audiences from hearing speakers. When we prevent words from being delivered or heard, we are trampling on the First Amendment. Even when a speaker’s message is deeply offensive to certain groups, the right to convey the message and the right to hear it are protected. This is essential to our values and to how we move forward in the months and years ahead.

Over the winter break, our offices of student affairs and legal counsel developed a Web page, “Student Expression,” to advise students on how to exercise their rights of expression and to get support for a variety of situations. This follows on the community-wide effort we undertook in 2014 to create a Freedom of Expression policy (PPM 400.01): http://manuals.ucdavis.edu/ppm/400/400-01.pdf. Students, staff, and faculty will find these resources useful.

In the coming weeks, I will be creating a work group of campus representatives – students, faculty, and staff – and key campus constituents to develop recommended practices and policies to ensure invited speakers can deliver their messages unimpeded. I anticipate the work group will provide its recommendations to me by no later than May 31, 2017.

While our Principles of Community “affirm the right of freedom of expression within our community” and commit to “the highest standards of conduct and decency toward all,” these are aspirational goals rather than formally adopted best practices or standards. As I have stated before, the campus community’s shared practice of responding to any idea with respectful and thoughtful engagement can help not only to deepen its collective understanding of important issues, but also to heal divisions, harmonize differences, and promote productive cooperation.


Ralph J. Hexter
Interim Chancellor

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ASM/ASV Conference on Interplay of Viral and Bacterial Pathogens

Forwarded message from Young, Vincent

Hi All,

Just to spread the word, particularly for your trainees— there will be a new conference May 1-4, 2017 that is co-sponsored by ASM and ASV. It will cover many aspects of intestinal biology (see below).

The meeting is trying to build bridges between virology and bacteriology and immunology and host physiology. We are also planning a session on model systems one can use to study the interplay between the various players (e.g. Drosophila, organoids etc). Abstracts can be in any one of those areas, they don’t have to span the whole breadth. The meeting is also for people that want to expand into one of the other areas, make connections and learn about the other topics. We have several features planned to enhance the interaction of students/postdocs with more senior scientists (e.g., poster pitch and science speed networking).

The abstract deadline has been extended to March 7. Importantly, there are 20 travel grants of $500 each available to students and postdocs.

Feel free to spread the news.



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At #UCDavis 2/22: Taner Sen on “Biological Databases …”

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At #UCDavis 2/21 – Elizabeth Grice “Skin microbiome dynamics in health, perturbation, and wound healing”

Dr. Elizabeth Grice from the University of Pennsylvania will be giving a talk at the Center for Comparative Medicine seminar series on Tuesday, February 21st, at 12PM in CCM 1008. The title of her talk is “Skin microbiome dynamics in health, perturbation, and wound healing.”

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At #UCDavis today: Dr. Karen Kapheim “Causes and Consequences of Social Evolution in Bees”

Dr. Karen Kapheim of Utah State University will be giving today’s Ecology and Evolution seminar.

Title: Causes and Consequences of Social Evolution in Bees
Room: 100 Hunt Hall
Time & Date: 4:10pm on Thursday, February 16th. TODAY!

From her website: “Research in the Kapheim lab at Utah State University addresses the evolutionary processes responsible for the diversity and plasticity of complex traits. The primary focus of this research is the evolution of social behavior in bees. We seek to understand the developmental and sociogenomic mechanisms underlying behavior to better understand how it evolves. Our research is integrated across sub-disciplines of biology, including evolutionary biology, behavioral ecology, comparative genomics and transcriptomics, neuroscience, physiology, and metagenomics.”

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2/14 at #UCDavis – Easton White “Your time series is (probably) too short “

***** CPB Seminar Reminder for Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 4:10pm in 1022 Life Sciences *****

Speaker: Easton White
Graduate Student, Population Biology Graduate Group, Hastings Lab, UC Davis
Title: “Your time series is (probably) too short ”
Host: Alan Hastings

The entire CPB Seminar schedule for Winter Quarter 2017 is available here.

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Today at #UCDavis – Scott Edwards on Convergent regulatory evolution and the origin of flightlessness …

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At #UCDavis today: Kenneth Cadwell on “Transkingdom interactions in the gut”

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California Council on Science and Technology Policy Fellowship

got this forwarded to me


Embark on a Science Policy Experience in the California State Legislature as a CCST Science Fellow

CCST is seeking scientists and engineers for a year of public service and government leadership training in Sacramento.

The California Council on Science and Technology is still accepting applications for the 2018 Class of the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. Completed applications are due on February 28th, 2017.

The CCST Science Fellows program is open to those holding a PhD or equivalent degree in science and engineering, and in social science fields such as economics. Applicants range from new graduates, postdoctoral scholars, tenured faculty, and industry staff. Eligibility information, program timeline, and the application link can be found at fellows.ccst.us/apply.php.

As CCST Science Fellows, scientists and engineers spend one year in Sacramento serving the California State Legislature. Working as legislative staff in the State Senate or State Assembly, they get a front-row seat learning about the craft and process of lawmaking in the State of California — a dynamic arena that often sets policy trends for the United States and the world.

Our Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to transform a scientist’s professional path. In fact, about 50 percent of CCST Science Fellows have been hired by the California State Legislature or state agencies since completing their fellowship. Other alumni return to academia, nonprofits, or industry with a deeper understanding of how science informs policymaking, enhancing their career as researchers, professors, consultants, and leaders.

So join us. Read reflections from current and former CCST Science Fellows (fellows.ccst.us/blog), and see how our program has changed their lives and careers. Then tell a friend, or apply for the program yourself — and help make California’s policies stronger with science.


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At #UCDavis 1/26: Sally Otto “Genomic scope of adaptive mutations in the face of environmental challenges”

tomorrow at UC Davis

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