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University of Miami President to Replace Gene Block Amid Controversy

Julio Frenk Named New UCLA Chancellor at UC Regents Meeting

The search for a new chancellor at UCLA is over. University of Miami President Julio Frenk will replace the controversial Chancellor Gene Block, who was accused of failing his duty to students and faculty during the vigilante attacks on the Palestine Solidarity Encampment on April 30 and May 1. Block and the UCLA Administration then authorized the LAPD and CHP dispersal of the camp, which led to 200 arrests and numerous injuries to students during the police action. 

According to a press release disbursed on Wednesday, “University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., announced on Wednesday, June 12, the selection of Julio Frenk, M.D., a global health expert and current president of the University of Miami, as UCLA’s next chancellor. The UC Board of Regents approved the appointment today during a special meeting held at UCLA.” 

Students voiced their anger and reproach during the public comment over UCLA’s treatment of student protesters and the use of police and mass arrests during protests since late April, the most recent of which occurred this week. 

The press release also notes that Julio Frenk will not take over the Chancellorship until January of 2025, with Vice Chancellor Darnell Hunt taking over Chancellor Block’s duties when he retires at the end of July. A post on Twitter noted that Frenk’s starting salary is $978,904, yet the “Median annual salary for a UC lecturer is approximately $20,000.”

Frenk will be the first Latino Chancellor at UCLA. Cal Matter’s article on his appointment notes that his Jewish father escaped from Germany to Mexico with his family in the 1930s. The article quotes Frenck, who says this about the status of the school: Students “need to have the environment that allows and enables the learning, and the learning can include all the other activities, but safety is a paramount consideration. Now, we do need to balance that with a very clear commitment to free expression. Freedom of expression should not, does not, include or protect harassment or discrimination.” 

The press release quotes Frenk, who adds, “At this crucial moment for higher education, returning to the public sector to lead one of the top research universities in the world — including one of the 10 largest academic health systems — is an exciting opportunity and a great honor for me,” said Chancellor-designate Frenk. “I look forward to adding my lifelong commitment to public service in education and health care to the vibrant, diverse, and cosmopolitan community that is Los Angeles.”

Dr. Frenk obtained a medical degree from the National University of Mexico, as well as a Master of Public Health and a joint Ph.D. in Medical Care Organization and in Sociology from the University of Michigan.

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