UCLA Appoints New Chancellor In Aftermath Of Campus Turmoil Over Pro-Palestinian Protests

LOS ANGELES, Jun 13 (NNN-XINHUA) – University of California (UC), Los Angeles, announced yesterday, it has appointed a new chancellor for the No. 1-ranked public university in the United States, in the aftermath of campus turmoil over pro-Palestinian protests.

Julio Frenk, currently the president of the University of Miami, will begin his role as the campus’ seventh chancellor on Jan 1, 2025, UCLA announced in a statement.

Frenk will be the first Latino to lead the elite Los Angeles school in its 105-year history. The appointment marks the culmination of a seven-month international search, by a 17-member committee that included UC President, Michael Drake, UC regents and representatives of UCLA’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and foundation.

Frenk, a U.S. citizen, originally from Mexico, is a distinguished global public health researcher, according to the statement.

Since 2015, Frenk has led the University of Miami, a private institution of more than 17,000 students. He previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and as Mexico’s national health secretary.

Frenk will succeed Gene Block, who has been UCLA chancellor for 17 years. Block is facing criticism over his response to pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campus.

“At this crucial moment for higher education, returning to the public sector to lead one of the top research universities in the world … is an exciting opportunity and a great honour for me,” said Frenk, in a statement.

“I do think that we’re at a critical moment in higher education. There has been an erosion of trust in institutions in general, including higher education institutions,” Frenk added, noting that, “The biggest challenge for us is to reaffirm our value to society – we have to constantly earn that trust. But the opportunity is huge.”– NNN-XINHUA

Frenk’s appointment came less than two days after 25 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested by police at UCLA. Protesters returned to UCLA campus and clashed with police on Monday after setting up the third campus encampment in recent weeks in support of the Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Over 200 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested on May 2 as police moved to dismantle an encampment at the university. On May 23, a group of protesters briefly established a second encampment on UCLA campus before police moved in to disband the efforts.

UC’s controversial response to pro-Palestinian protests had led to a rolling strike as academic workers at six of UC’s 10 systemwide campuses, including UCLA, walked off the job.

The strike by United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 4811, which represents 48,000 academic workers across the UC system, was ordered to pause by a judge on Friday after UC filed a lawsuit and requested injunctive relief earlier last week against UAW for breach of contract. UAW Local 4811 vowed in a statement that the union is prepared to keep defending its rights in a “long fight.” 


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