Dear Chancellor Block:
Due to the unusual amount of discussion regarding building the proposed residential conference center on the site of the Faculty Center, the faculty within the Department of Physics and Astronomy encouraged a departmental faculty vote to ascertain if there was strong feeling within our department concerning this issue. A ballot was sent out asking whether to urge the UCLA Administration to reconsider the location of the proposed residential conference center, with the results of the ballot being 39 in favor of requesting the administration to reconsider the issue, with a lone dissenting vote against.
Based on this notably strong vote, the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are recommending in an advisory capacity that the UCLA Administration reopen the discussion of where to construct the proposed residential conference center. To explain the near consensus behind the vote, I can state that there is concern both about the loss of the present faculty center, and about the wisdom of the currently chosen location. Considering that a number of alternative suggested locations have been put forward that are closer to the Wilshire corridor, with access to restaurants and the upcoming Westside subway link, the current choice seems optimized only to negatively impact the neighborhood. Further, the faculty has expressed doubts about the appropriateness of undertaking such an ostentatious project that has minimal positive educational impact during a time of intense funding pressure on the University.
James Rosenzeig, Professor and Chair, Physics and Astronomy Department
(A cc: of the letter was sent to former Interim Chancellor Norm Abrams and Academic Senate Chair Ann Karagozian.)