Fiat lux (Latin)
Motto in English
$504.3 million (2015)
Land-grantPublic research university
The University of California, Irvine (UCI, UC Irvine, or Irvine), is a public research university located in Irvine, California, United States, and one of the 10 campuses in the University of California (UC) system. UC Irvine offers 80 undergraduate degrees and 98 graduate and professional degrees. The university is designated as having very high research activity in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and in fiscal year 2013 had $348 million in research and development expenditures according to the National Science Foundation. UC Irvine became a member of the Association of American Universities in 1996, and is the youngest university to hold membership.
- Early years
- Present day
- Recent growth
- Libraries and study centers
- Academic units
- Research organizations
- Learned societies affiliations
- Fraternities and sororities
- Clubs and organizations
- Residential accommodations
- Anteater as mascot
- Aramark controversy
- Law school dean controversy
- UCI Extension controversy
- Allegations of antisemitism
- Arrests at Michael Oren lecture
- Student government flag controversy
The university also administers the UC Irvine Medical Center, a large teaching hospital in Orange, and its affiliated health sciences system; the University of California, Irvine, Arboretum; and a portion of the University of California Natural Reserve System. UC Irvine set up the first Earth System Science Department in the United States.
UCI was one of three new UC campuses established in the 1960s to accommodate growing enrollments across the UC system. A site in Orange County was identified in 1959, and in the following year the Irvine Company sold the University of California 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land for one dollar to establish the new campus. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the campus in 1964.
The UC Irvine Anteaters compete in 18 men's and women's sports in the NCAA Division I as members of the Big West Conference and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Anteaters have won 28 national championships in nine different team sports, 64 Anteaters have won individual national championships, and 53 Anteaters have competed in the Olympics.
The University of California, Irvine was one of three new University of California campuses established in the 1960s under the California Master Plan for Higher Education with the San Diego and Santa Cruz campuses. During the 1950s, the University of California saw the need for the new campuses to handle both the large number of college-bound World War II veterans (largely due to the G. I. Bill) and the expected increase in enrollment from the post-war baby boom. One of the new campuses was to be in the Los Angeles area; the location selected was Irvine Ranch, an area of agricultural land bisecting Orange County from north to south. This site was chosen to accommodate the county's growing population, complement the growth of nearby UCLA and UC Riverside, and allow for the construction of a master planned community in the surrounding area.
Unlike most other University of California campuses, UCI was not named for the city it was built in; at the time of the university's founding (1965), the current city of Irvine (incorporated in 1971) did not exist. The name "Irvine" is a reference to James Irvine, a landowner who administered the 94,000-acre (38,000 ha) Irvine Ranch. In 1960, The Irvine Company sold 1,000 acres (400 ha) of the Irvine Ranch to the University of California for one dollar, since a company policy prohibited the donation of property to a public entity. The University purchased an additional 510 acres (210 ha) in 1964 for housing and commercial developments. Much of the land that was not purchased by UCI (which is now occupied by the cities of Irvine, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Newport Coast) is now held under The Irvine Company. During this time, the University also hired William Pereira and Associates as the Master Planner of the Irvine Ranch area. Pereira intended for the UC Irvine campus to complement the neighboring community, and the two grew in tandem. Soon after UC Irvine opened in 1965, the City of Irvine became incorporated and established in 1971 and 1975, respectively.
UC Irvine's first Chancellor, Daniel G. Aldrich, developed the campus' first academic plan around a College of Arts, Letters, and Science, a Graduate School of Administration, and a School of Engineering. The College of Arts, Letters, and Science was composed of twenty majors in five "Divisions": Biological Sciences, Fine Arts, Humanities, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences (which transformed into the present-day "Schools"). Aldrich was also responsible for implementing the wide variety of flora and fauna on the campus that fit the local Mediterranean climate zone, feeling that it served an "aesthetic, environmental, and educational [purpose]."
On June 20, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated UC Irvine before a crowd of 15,000 people, and on October 4, 1965 the campus began operations with 1,589 students, 241 staff members, 119 faculty, and 43 teaching assistants. However, many of UCI's buildings were still under construction and landscaping was still in progress, with the campus only at 75% completion. By June 25, 1966, UCI held its first Commencement with fourteen students, which conferred ten Bachelor of Arts degrees, three Master of Arts degrees, and one Doctor of Philosophy degree.
In 1965 the California College of Medicine (originally a school of osteopathy founded in 1896 and the oldest continuously operating medical college in the Southwest) became part of UC Irvine.
In 1976, plans to establish an on-campus hospital were set aside, with the university instead purchasing the Orange County Medical Center (renamed the UC Irvine Medical Center) around 12 miles from UC Irvine, in the City of Orange.
As the second largest employer in Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $5 billion. There are 87 undergraduate degree programs, 59 master's and 46 Ph.D. programs. Numerous other educational and training opportunities are offered in areas ranging from physician residency programs at UC Irvine's Medical Center to community certificate programs and other coursework through University Extension.
In June 2014, President Barack Obama gave the commencement speech for UC Irvine’s graduating class. Approximately 40,000 people attended the ceremony at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The speech focused on challenges new graduates would face, such as climate change, and expressed optimism for the future to create solutions.
In 2014-2015, UC Irvine awarded 8,772 degrees: 6,768 bachelor's degrees 1,412 Master's degrees, 390 Ph.D.s and Ed.D.s, 93 M.D.s, and 109 J.D.s.
As a part of its long-term efforts to grow to full size, UC Irvine has implemented construction projects (estimated to cost $1.3 billion over the next decade) that will accelerate the campus build-out and employ the remainder of the university's land grant. The exponential increase in construction activity is a part of the Strategy for Academic Development at UCI through 2015, a master plan that outlines the vision of making UCI a first-choice university for college applicants nationwide. This increase also spawned a popular backronym of UCI: "Under Construction Indefinitely."
The layout of the core campus resembles a rough circle with its center being Aldrich Park (initially known as Central Park), lined up by the Ring Mall and buildings surrounding the road. To further emphasize the layout, academic units are positioned relative to the center, wherein undergraduate schools are closer to the center than the graduate schools.
Aldrich Park is planted with over 11,120 trees (there are over 24,000 trees on the entire campus), including 33 species of eucalyptus. Two ceremonial trees were planted in 1990, one for Arbor Day and the second for former chancellor Daniel Aldrich who had died that year. On the first anniversary of the September 11th tragedies, the chancellor planted a bay laurel tree in remembrance of the heroes and victims of the events of September 11, 2001. The tree itself was a gift from the UCI Staff Assembly. Aldrich Park is the site for “Wayzgoose,” a medieval student festival held each year in conjunction with the “Celebrate UCI” open house. It also hosts many extracurricular activities.
Ring Mall is the main pedestrian road used by students and faculty to travel around the core campus. The road measures up to a perfect mile and completely encircles Aldrich Park. Most schools and libraries are lined up by this road with each of these schools having their own central plaza which also connects to the Aldrich Park.
Other areas of the university outside of the core campus such as the School of Arts are connected by four pedestrian bridges. Beyond the core campus and the bridges, the layout of the campus is more suburban.
Irvine, California consistently ranks as the safest city in America. UCI is close to the beaches, mountains, and attractions of Southern California. Disneyland is approximately 20 minutes away by car. While the university is located in Irvine, the campus is directly bounded by the city of Newport Beach and the community of Newport Coast. The western side of the campus borders the San Diego Creek and the San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh Reserve, through which Campus Drive connects UCI to the 405 freeway. The northern and eastern sides of UCI are adjacent to Irvine proper; the eastern side of the campus is delineated by Bonita Canyon Road, which turns into Culver Drive at its northern terminus. California State Route 73 marks UCI's southern boundary and separates the campus from Newport Beach.
The "North Campus" houses the Facilities Management Department, the Faculty Research Facility, Central Receiving, Fleet Services, the Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory, and numerous other functions. It is located next to the UCI Arboretum; both the North Campus and the arboretum are located about 1 mile (2 km) from the main campus.
William Pereira's original street layout for the region surrounding the University had a wingnut-shaped loop road as the main thoroughfare, which twice crossed the campus. However, the Irvine Company's development plans expanded before it could be completed, and portions of California, Carlson, Harvard and Turtle Rock roads today constitute segments of what would have been the Loop Road.
Despite the suburban environment, a variety of wildlife inhabits the university's central park, open fields, and wetlands. The university is home to mountain lions, hawks, golden eagles, great blue herons, squirrels, opossums, peregrine falcons, rabbits, raccoons, owls, skunks, weasels, bats, and coyotes. The UCI Arboretum hosts a collection of plants from California and Mediterranean climates around the world. The rabbits in particular are very numerous and can be seen across campus in high numbers, especially during hours of low student traffic.
The first buildings were designed by a team of architects led by William Pereira and including A. Quincy Jones and William Blurock. The initial landscaping, including Aldrich Park, was designed by an association of three firms, including that of the noted urban-landscaping innovator Robert Herrick Carter. Aldrich Park was designed under the direction of landscape architect Gene Uematsu, and was modeled after Frederick Law Olmsted's designs for New York City's Central Park. The campus opened in 1965 with the inner circle and park only half-completed. There were only nine buildings and a dirt road connecting the main campus to the housing units. Only three of the six "spokes" that radiate from the central park were built, with only two buildings each. Pereira was retained by the university to maintain a continuity of style among the buildings constructed in the inner ring around the park, the last of which was completed in 1972. These buildings were designed in a style which combined sweeping curves and expressionistic shapes with elements of classic California architecture such as red tiled roofs and clay-tiled walkways, and distinctive white railings evoking the deck of an ocean liner. These buildings featured an innovative structural design that freed the interiors from support columns in order to allow future alterations of their floor plans.
Construction on the campus all but ceased after the Administration building, Aldrich Hall, was completed in 1974, and then resumed in the late 1980s, beginning a massive building boom that still continues today. This second building boom continued the futuristic trend, but emphasized a much more colorful, postmodern approach that somewhat contradicted the earthy, organic designs of the early buildings. Architects such as Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Eric Owen Moss, James Stirling and Arthur Erickson were brought in to bring the campus more up to date. The recession in the early 1990s along with internal politics led to a change in direction, due to the reduced capital budget, and changing attitudes towards architectural innovation at the university. This in turn led to a "contextualist" approach beginning in the late 1990s combining stylistic elements of the first two phases in an attempt to provide an architectural "middle ground" between the two vastly different styles. Gehry's building was recently removed from campus to make way for a new building, with a design that has been called a "big beige box with bands of bricks." In 2009 the Humanities Gateway building, designed by Curtis W. Fentress, was opened. Its curvilinear design marked a return to the sculptural treatment of concrete begun by Pereira.
As of 2005, the campus has more than 200 buildings and encompasses most of the university's 1,525 acres (6.17 km2). The campus is in the midst of a $1.1 billion construction campaign.
Libraries and study centers
In addition to holding a noted Critical Theory archive and Southeast Asian archive, the Libraries also contain extensive collections in Dance and Performing Arts, Regional History, and more. Additionally, Langson Library hosts an extensive East Asian collection with materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Nearly all departments and schools on campus complement the resources of the UC Irvine Libraries by maintaining their own reading rooms and scholarly meeting rooms. They contain small reference collections and are the choice for more intimate lectures, graduate seminars, and study sessions. There is also the large Gateway Study Center located across from Langson Library, one of the university's original buildings and under the custody of UC Irvine Libraries. Having served formerly as a cafeteria and student center, it is now a dual-use computer lab and study area which is open nearly 24 hours.
The UCI Student Center offers a large number of study areas, auditoriums, and two food courts, and therefore is one of the most popular places to study on campus. UC Irvine also has a number of computer labs that serve as study centers. The School of Humanities maintains the Humanities Instructional Resource Center, a drop-in computer lab specializing in language and digital media. Additionally, UCI maintains five other drop-in labs, four instructional computer labs, and a number of reservation-only SmartClassrooms, some of which are open 24 hours. Other popular study areas include Aldrich Park, the Cross-Cultural Center, the Locus (a study room and computer lab used by the Campuswide Honors Program), and plazas located in every school.
An underground network of tunnels runs between many of the major buildings on campus and the Central Plant, with the major trunk passage located beneath Ring Mall. Smaller tunnels branch off from this main passage to reach individual buildings, carrying electrical and air-conditioning utilities from the Central Plant. These tunnels have been the subject of much campus lore, the most popular story being that the tunnels were constructed to facilitate the safe evacuation of faculty in the event of a student riot. The main tunnel actually appears above ground in the form of an unusually thick bridge near the Engineering Tower, in an area where Ring Mall crosses between two hills.
Like other University of California campuses, UC Irvine is governed by a Chancellor who has significant authority over campus academic and planning affairs. The Chancellor, in turn, is nominated by and is responsible to the Regents of the University of California and the UC President:
After the Chancellor, the second most senior official is the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. He serves as the university's chief academic and operating officer. Every school on campus reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost through a Dean, and all other academic and administrative units report to his office through a Vice Chancellor or chief administrator. A partial list of these units includes Campus Recreation, Intercollegiate Athletics, Planning and Budget, Student Affairs, UC Irvine Libraries, UC Irvine Medical Center, and University Advancement. The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost also governs the faculty senate.
UC Irvine's academic units are referred to as Schools. As of the 2016-17 school year, there are thirteen Schools, one Program in Public Health, one Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and various interdisciplinary programs. The College of Health Sciences was established in 2004, but no longer exists as a separate academic unit. On November 16, 2006, the UC Regents approved the establishment of the School of Law. The School of Education was established by the Regents of the University of California in 2012. In 2016, the university announced that it had received a $40 million donation from Bill Gross' philanthropic foundation to turn its nursing science program into the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing. The University of California Regents formally approved the establishment of the nursing school in January 2017. Supplementary education programs offer accelerated or community education in the form of Summer Session and UC Irvine Extension.
The academic units consist of:
School of Medicine constitute the professional schools of health science. UC Irvine Medical Center is ranked among the nation’s top 50 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for the 12th consecutive year. The School of Medicine features 19 clinical and 6 basic science departments with 560 full-time and 1,300 volunteer faculty members involved in teaching, patient care and advancing medical knowledge through scholarly medical and basic science research.
UCI hosts many research organizations. These organizations are either chaired by or composed of UCI faculty, frequently draw upon undergraduates and graduates for research assistance, and produce innovations, patents, and scholarly works. Some are housed in a school or department office; others are housed in their own facilities. These are a few of the more prolific research organizations at UCI:
Among universities under 50 years of age Times Higher Education ranked UCI 4th in the world and 1st in the US for 2012, 5th in the world and 1st in the US for 2013, 7th in the world and 1st in the US in 2014, and 7th in the world and 1st in the US in 2015. 2015 was the final year UCI was eligible for this ranking.
Money Magazine ranked UC Irvine 13th in the country (and 3rd among public colleges) out of the nearly 1500 schools it evaluated for its 2015 Best Colleges ranking. The Daily Beast ranked UC Irvine 39th in the country out of the nearly 2000 schools it evaluated for its 2013 Best Colleges ranking. For 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked UC Irvine tied for 39th among national universities and 9th among public universities in the U.S. In addition, many of UCI's graduate programs consistently receive top-50 rankings from U.S. News & World Report, earning distinction in literary criticism and theory (3), criminology (5), law - clinical training (11-tie), organic chemistry (12), English (22), chemistry (24), sociology (25), computer science (29), physics (29), psychology (30), law (30), education (31), biological sciences (34), earth sciences (34), history (36), engineering (37-tie), business part-time MBA (37-tie), political science (40), mathematics (41), medicine-research (45-tie), and economics (46).
In 2016, Forbes ranked UCI 10th on its Best Value Colleges list based on its tuition costs, school quality, graduation success rates and post-grad earnings.
In 2014 Washington Monthly ranked UCI 7th out of the top 100 Affordable Elite colleges and universities.
In 2015 Kiplinger ranked UCI 30th out of the top 100 best-value public colleges and universities in the nation, and 4th in California.
In 2015, Sierra Magazine ranked UCI 1st in its "Coolest Schools" in America list for campus sustainability and climate change efforts.
According to The Daily Beast UCI ranked 16th among “The 100 Happiest Colleges in 2010.” In 2013 CBS News MoneyWatch listed UCI as the 11th happiest public university, based on the greatest percentage of freshmen who remain for their sophomore year.
Learned societies affiliations
UCI faculty are affiliated with the following learned societies.
UC Irvine is categorized by U.S. News & World Report as "more selective" for college admissions in the United States. It was the fifth-most selective University of California campus for the freshman class entering fall 2015, as measured by the ratio of admitted students to applicants (behind UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and UC San Diego). UC Irvine received 77,786 applications for admission to the Fall 2016 incoming freshman class; 31,631 were admitted (40.7%). Fall 2016 enrolled freshmen had an average high school GPA of 3.97, while the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 490-620 for critical reading, 550-690 for math, and 510-620 for writing. The incoming 2016 freshmen were predominantly from Los Angeles County, followed by Orange County, the Bay Area counties, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and San Diego County.
The choice to offer admission is based on the University of California's comprehensive review program. It considers a candidate's personal situation, community involvement, extracurricular activities, and academic potential in addition to the traditional high school academic record, personal statement, and entrance examination scores. While residency is not a factor in admission, it is a factor in tuition expenses, with out-of-state residents spending more annually than California residents. State law prohibits UC Irvine from practicing affirmative action in its admissions process.
The most popular major for freshmen in 2012 was a major in Biological Sciences (20.6%), followed by Engineering (16.6%), Undecided/Undeclared (16.5%), Social Sciences (13.4%), Physical Sciences (8.0%), Humanities (5.2%), Business (4.4%), Information and Computer Sciences (3.8%), Social Ecology (3.1%), Arts (2.8%), Pharmaceutical Sciences (2.8%), Health Sciences (1.5%), Other (1.0%), and Nursing (0.4%).
Fraternities and sororities
The first fraternities and sororities at UCI began in 1973 with three sororities (Delta Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, and Gamma Phi Beta) and three fraternities (Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Chi, and Phi Delta Theta). Major events and programs in the Greek Community include Songfest, All Greek Conference, Greek Week, BANG (Being a New Greek), and risk management programs (topics vary).
Clubs and organizations
With over 650 student clubs and organizations on campus, students can readily find friends who share their interests whether academic, multicultural, political, religious, service, social, or athletic. Campus activities throughout the year include cultural nights, arts performances, and live music at Anteater Plaza—special events such as Summerlands, Wayzgoose, Shocktoberfest, and Earth Day are held yearly. ASUCI, the university's undergraduate student government, traditionally organizes a world record attempt by the university at the beginning of each academic year. UCI has won Guinness World Records for the largest game of capture the flag six times, with the most recent one in September 2015. In addition, the university has broken the record for the largest game of dodgeball three years straight. They have also won records for largest water pistol fight and largest pillow fight.
UC Irvine has a number of residential options for students interested in living on campus. Part of UCI's long-range development plan involves expanding on-campus housing to accommodate 50% of all UCI students.
The on-campus housing communities for undergraduates are: Mesa Court, Middle Earth, Arroyo Vista, Campus Village, Vista del Campo, Vista del Campo Norte, Camino del Sol, and Puerta del Sol. Graduate students also have access to the on-campus housing communities: Palo Verde and Verano Place.
UCI's two freshman dormitory communities are Mesa Court and Middle Earth. Mesa Court was the first housing community at UCI, it features a volleyball court, two basketball courts, a community center, a recreational center, and the Mesa Academic Center (MAC). Middle Earth comprises 24 residence halls, two dining facilities (Brandywine and Pippin Commons), a student center, and several resource centers. The name of each building in Middle Earth is named after a character or a place from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and "The Lord of the Rings". Middle Earth was built in three phases. The first phase was built in 1974 and it includes seven halls: Hobbiton, Isengard, Lorien, Mirkwood, Misty Mountain, Rivendell, and the Shire, along with a separate Head Resident's manufactured home called "Bag End". The second phase was built in 1989 with thirteen more halls: Balin, Harrowdale, Whispering Wood, Woodhall, Calmindon, Grey Havens, Aldor, Rohan, Gondolin, Snowbourn, Elrond, Shadowfax, and Quenya. The third phase was built in 2000 with four halls: Crickhollow, Evenstar, Oakenshield, and Valimar. Each hall houses about fifty to eighty students, although Quenya was built with sixty single suite rooms which mainly house graduate students.
There are 42 houses located in Arroyo Vista, of which 9 are sorority houses and 5 are fraternity houses. The sorority houses located in Arroyo Vista are Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Pi Beta Phi, Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Kappa, and Kappa Alpha Theta. The fraternity houses located in Arroyo Vista are Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Arroyo Vista also features many themed houses based on academic or social interests. As of Fall 2012, Arroyo Vista started the "First Year Experience" and now houses first year students within six of its houses. Students living in Arroyo Vista live in complexes that may be called houses, but have dorm-like qualities.
Apartment style on-campus housing at UCI can be found at Vista del Campo, Vista del Campo Norte, Camino del Sol, and Puerta del Sol. VDC has single rooms available for undergraduates, while VDC Norte has both single rooms and double rooms available. Camino del Sol features single rooms, a community center, a fitness center, and a pool. In fall of 2012, Camino del Sol opened housing to incoming first-year students as an option instead of dorm living. Each housing community is served by ASUCI shuttles that regularly travel to the main campus.
UCI off-campus housing options vary, based on a student's preferred living arrangements and budget. However, a common denominator for off-campus apartment housing in Irvine, as well as nearby Newport Beach, Tustin, and Costa Mesa is the fact that most accommodations are maintained by The Irvine Company.
UC Irvine's sports teams are known as the Anteaters and the student body is known as Antourage. They participate in the NCAA's Division I, as members of the Big West Conference and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UC Irvine fields nationally competitive teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. The university has won 28 national championships in nine different sports, and also has had 64 individual national champions, 53 Olympians, and over 500 All-Americans.
The university's most recent NCAA Division I national championship was won by the men's volleyball team on May 4, 2013 against BYU (3–0) at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. UC Irvine men's volleyball has become one of the nation's most elite volleyball programs, having won four national championships in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2013 respectively.
UC Irvine has won three NCAA Division I men's water polo titles, with championships in 1970, 1982, and 1989.
UC Irvine baseball won back-to-back national championships at the NCAA College Division College World Series and the NCAA Division II College World Series in 1973 and 1974. Anteater baseball has since moved to the NCAA Division I level and has become one of the premier baseball programs on the west coast. The 2007 baseball team finished 3rd at the College World Series, and in 2009 the baseball team earned a No. 1 national ranking in NCAA Division I polls from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball for the first time in school history, as well as a national seed and the right to host an NCAA Regional. The 2014 baseball team returned to the College World Series and finished 5th after a remarkable postseason run through the NCAA Regionals and NCAA Super Regionals after being one of the last teams selected for the NCAA tournament.
In 2015, for the first time, UC Irvine appeared in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. It was narrowly defeated in a first-round tournament game by Louisville, 57-55.
Anteater as mascot
The anteater was chosen in 1965 when students were allowed to submit mascot candidates, which would be voted on in a campus election. Three undergraduates named Pat Glasgow, Bob Ernst, and Schuyler Hadley Basset III were credited with choosing the anteater and designing a cartoon representation, having been disappointed with other candidates such as a roadrunner, unicorn, seahawk and golden bison.
The original anteater design was not based on the Johnny Hart comic strip, "B.C." but on a somewhat less wholesome symbol — the Playboy bunny. In November 1965, the UCI students officially voted on the anteater, and many embraced their far-out mascot. In a special follow-up election, students opted for a mascot based on the B.C. anteater over the Playboy version. Since it was "original and slightly irrelevant," it became the mascot of UC Irvine after winning 56% of the vote, beating a close second with the choice of "none of the above". The anteaters are not to be confused with the aardvark, an African animal that also eats ants. The anteater has grown to become a beloved mascot, and is the inspiration for many of UCI's athletic and campus spirit traditions. School chants and cheers feature the word "zot" which was the noise Johnny Hart's "Peter the Anteater" made while eating ants.
A hand signal called "Rip'em 'Eaters" was created by Blake Sasaki and Dennis Wisco in 2001. When attacked, an anteater sits in a tripodal position with its hind feet and tail and tears and "rips" at its predator. The hand signal is done by touching the tips of the two middle fingers with the thumb, and sliding the thumb back, making the pinky and index finger the ears and the fingers in the middle the snout of the anteater.
In August 2007, a small stuffed Peter accompanied astronaut Tracy Caldwell on the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission STS-118.
Following the 2015 men's basketball team's inaugural appearance in the NCAA Division I tournament, Mashable named Peter the Anteater the winner of its "Mascot Madness" tournament. The mascot also appeared on an episode of Conan.
As of 2011, UCI has more than 124,000 alumni. These people include athletes (Steve Scott, Scott Brooks, Greg Louganis and 34 Olympians), Broadway, film, and television actors (Bob Gunton, James LeGros, Jon Lovitz, Brian Thompson, Teal Wicks, Windell Middlebrooks), educators (Erin Gruwell), international concert pianist and arts entrepreneur Kevin Kwan Loucks, astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, and technological innovators (Roy Fielding, Paul Mockapetris, and Patrick J. Hanratty).
Three faculty members have been honored with the Nobel Prize. In 1995, two UCI Professors earned the Nobel Prize: Dr. Frank Sherwood Rowland won in chemistry and Dr. Frederick Reines won in physics. F. Sherwood Rowland helped to discover the harmful effects of CFCs on the ozone layer, while Frederick Reines received the Nobel Prize for his work in discovering the neutrino. In 2004, Dr. Irwin Rose, professor at the School of Medicine, was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry, along with faculty from the Technion. Rose received the Nobel Prize for his work on biological proteins.
Claude Yarbrough (aka Jonathan Pendragon), class of '76, is one of the most influential magicians of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Ralph J. Cicerone, an earth system science professor and former chancellor of UCI, served as president of the National Academy of Sciences from 2005 to 2016.
Additionally, three faculty members have been named National Medal of Science recipients.
Thomas Keneally was a visiting professor at UCI where he taught the graduate fiction workshop for one quarter in 1985. From 1991 to 1995, he was a visiting professor in the writing program at UCI. He is most famous for his book Schindler's Ark (1982) (later republished as Schindler's List), which won the Booker Prize and is the basis of the film Schindler's List that was directed by Steven Spielberg.
In January 2009, UCI Professor Reg Penner won the Faraday Medal for his research with nanowires.
UC Irvine is the last UC campus that subcontracts its food services. In summer of 2004, UCI signed a contract with Aramark, a food services corporation, granting it control of nearly all residential dining facilities and restaurants on university property. This includes UCI's three dining halls (Brandywine, Pippin Commons, and Mesa Commons) and three on-campus restaurants (Phoenix Grille, B.C.'s Cavern on the Green, and Bistro by the Bridge). ASUCI, which is partially responsible for negotiating UCI's food services contract, has justified the decision to offer Aramark its business with the argument that Aramark has pledged to invest millions of dollars into the university's food service infrastructure.
Critics argue that offering one corporation the university's food services contract is a de facto monopoly. It is also argued that the management of food services by Aramark leads to low-quality food and poor customer service, and that support of Aramark condones its poor employee relations record. Many full-time Aramark employees qualify for public assistance and rely on Medi-Cal, low-income housing, and other social programs. Though these workers prepare and serve food on the UC Irvine campus in residential dining halls, they are not afforded the same rights as UC service employees. Aramark Corporation prohibits its workers from unionizing to fight for higher wages.
Proponents argue that maintaining one entity for food service lowers costs for the University, which in turn lowers costs for students. Also, the fact that food service workers are not UC employees further lowers costs for the university. Furthermore, UCI notes the large investment Aramark is making is in dining infrastructure, which will outlast its current contract and support UCI's long-range development plan.
Law school dean controversy
In hiring an inaugural dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, which opened in 2009, the University approached Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, a well known legal scholar in constitutional law and liberal commentator. After signing a contract with Chemerinsky on September 4, 2007, the hire was rescinded by UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake because he felt the law professor's commentaries were "polarizing" and would not serve the interests of California's first new public law school in 40 years; Drake claimed the decision was his own and not the subject of any outside influence. The action was roundly criticized by liberal and conservative scholars who felt it hindered the academic mission of the law school, and disbelief over Chancellor Drake's claims that it was the subject of no outside influence.
The issue was the subject of a New York Times editorial on September 14, 2007. Details emerged revealing that UCI had received criticism on the hire from California Chief Justice Ronald M. George, who criticized Chemerinsky's grasp of death penalty appeals as well as a group of prominent Orange County Republicans and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who wanted to derail the appointment. Drake traveled over a weekend to Durham, North Carolina, and the two reached an agreement late Sunday evening. On September 17, Chemerinsky issued a joint press release with UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake indicating that Chemerinsky would head the UCI law school, stating "Our new law school will be founded on the bedrock principle of academic freedom. The chancellor reiterated his lifelong, unqualified commitment to academic freedom, which extends to every faculty member, including deans and other senior administrators."
UCI Extension controversy
From 2002 to 2007, Capella University, a for-profit, on-line institution, paid $500 per student to UCI Extension for each of the 36 students who transferred to Capella. This undisclosed financial arrangement resulted in a total payment of $12,000 to UCI. The payments, first reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, were inadvertently revealed when Jeffry La Marca, a former student of UCI Extension and Capella, filed a public records request for correspondence between UCI and Capella.
UCI continuing education dean Gary Matkin announced the school would end the arrangement by October 31, 2007 and plans to place $12,000 into a scholarship fund for needy students. UCI officials represented that the agreement was legal per Department of Education regulations; however, UCI had tried to hide the payments and the arrangement was frequently criticized as unethical because it raised the possibility that school counselors might make recommendations to students based on financial incentives rather than the student's best interests.
Allegations of antisemitism
On November 30, 2007, the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education issued a report finding "insufficient evidence" in support of allegations that Jewish students at UCI were harassed and subjected to a hostile environment based on their national origin. The federal agency investigated a total of 13 alleged incidents of harassment that occurred between Fall 2000 and December 2006, and determined that 5 were "isolated acts" that could not be addressed because they were reported more than 180 days after they occurred. Further, the agency considered these acts, which included a rock thrown at a Jewish student, the destruction of a Holocaust memorial display, and various threatening or harassing statements made to individual Jewish students, substantially different in nature as to be unrelated to the 8 other recurring acts it investigated, which included graffiti depicting swastikas on campus, events during an annual Zionist Awareness Week (in which several Jewish students had, however, partook), exclusion of Jewish students during an anti-hate rally, and the wearing of graduation stoles signifying support for Hamas or Palestinian human rights. The agency ultimately found that none of the incidents leading to the allegations qualified as "sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in from the services, activities or privileges" provided by UCI, and that university officials had acted appropriately in response to each incident. In December 2007, UCI Administration has been cleared of anti-semitism complaints by the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Following a speech by then-Chancellor Michael V. Drake at the national Hillel meeting in Washington, D.C. in March 2008, Anteaters for Israel, along with three other Jewish organizations, issued a press release defending Drake and claiming that anti-Semitic activity was "exaggerated." Since then, 20 current and former students issued a statement expressing concern over ongoing issues and Drake's handling of them.
In May 2009, UC Irvine hosted a two-week event titled "Israel: The Politics of Genocide", hosted by the school's Muslim Student Union. Scheduled speakers included Cynthia McKinney and George Galloway. Opponents of the event described it as "anti-Semitic" (despite its considerable support from Jewish students and stated criticism solely of Israeli policy) and have called for Chancellor Drake to condemn both the event and the sponsoring organization. He has declined to do so. One outdoor demonstration at this event included a display with an image of Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank wearing a keffiyah, in an apparent attempt to draw an analogy between her sufferings and the plight of the Palestinians in the Palestinian territories. The pro-Israel campus advocacy group StandWithUs has described this image as offensive.
In October 2009, students from UCI met with Hamas official Aziz Duwaik on a university-sponsored trip to the West Bank under a program called the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), a neutral, apolitical education group that studies the Arab-Israeli conflict. The meeting was questioned by parties in 2011, and the initial response from UCI was that the meeting was justified, as the education group was studying the different narratives that contribute to the current situation in the middle east. After the Zionist Organization of America informed UCI about Hamas' nature and urged UCI to dissociate itself from the OTI, UCI referred to the meeting as a "misstep." Many of these accusations were contradicted by many organizations and members of the group who are of pro-Israel and Jewish descent.
In May, 2010, forty members of the faculty issued an open letter expressing concern about "hate-promoting actions" including "a statement (by a speaker repeatedly invited by the Muslim Student Union) that the Zionist Jew is a party of Satan, a statement by another MSU speaker that the Holocaust was God’s will" that have given UCI "a growing reputation as a center of hate and intolerance". Neither of the speakers had been named nor any students shown to have had any affiliation with such remarks.
Arrests at Michael Oren lecture
UC Irvine attracted controversy in February 2010 when students disrupted a lecture by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. While the MSU had issued a statement condemning the university for inviting a man who “took part in a culture that has no qualms with terrorizing the innocent, killing civilians, demolishing their homes and illegally occupying their land,” they denied responsibility for the protests and said the students acted on their own. According to Kenneth Stern, director of the American Jewish Committee's Division on Antisemitism and Extremism "The UCI campus has had a long history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents, usually tied to its Muslim Student Union."
Hecklers interrupted Oren's speech 10 times with many students cheering them in support. Among other slogans, the hecklers yelled, "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech," "killers" and "how many Palestinians did you kill?" After the fourth disruption, Oren took a 20-minute leave before returning to the podium. Before continuing he said, "I’ve spent most of my life living in and studying the Middle East and one of the great and eternal cultural facets of the Middle East is hospitality...even if you do not agree with them, even if they’re ostensibly your enemy. I’m your guest here and I’m asking for the Middle Eastern hospitality for your guest, I’ve come into your house." By the end of the program, 11 UC Irvine and Riverside students were reportedly arrested.
According to the New University, 11 students were charged with section 403 of the UCIPD penal code – disrupting a public event on the University’s property, for their actions. Nine were enrolled at UCI and three were from UCR.
During the event, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and political science department chair Mark Petracca "chided the protesting crowd and called the disruptions embarrassing." At one point, Chairman Petracca yelled "Shame on you" to the heckling crowd. In a statement issued the next day, UCI Chancellor Drake called the students' behavior "intolerable," saying that "Freedom of speech is among the most fundamental, and among the most cherished of the bedrock values our nation is built upon." UCI Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky also condemned the disruptions. He stated, "Imagine if they had brought their own speaker and that person had been shouted down. There would be no free speech. There is no right to a ‘heckler’s veto.’"
In response, the university suspended the group for the 2010–2011 school year and the group will undergo a probationary period for the following year. In addition, the members will be responsible for completing a collective 50 community service hours before the group can be reinstated. The Muslim Student Union has appealed the suspension. The punishment was later modified to one academic quarter, one hundred hours of community service, and two years probation.
The Zionist Organization of America, describing UCI as "a campus that permitted bigotry", has called for college-bound students and financial donors to avoid UCI.
Student government flag controversy
In March 2015, the legislative branch of the campus undergraduate student government, the ASUCI, voted in favor of a resolution that would have banned all flags from a shared inner workroom in the undergraduate student government's offices, the text of which partially stating that "The American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism" and "freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible, can be interpreted as hate speech". After the student government's president expressed his opposition to the resolution in a public social media post, the resolution became controversial, with criticism and support from students and non-students. The student representatives who voted in favor of the ban experienced intense harassment and received numerous death threats. The university administration called the ban "misguided", stating “The views of a handful of students passing a resolution do not represent the opinions of the nearly 30,000 students on this campus, and have no influence on the policies and practices of the university”, and the executive branch of the student council vetoed the ban. During the controversy, California State Senator Janet Nguyen said that the state constitution could be amended to prohibit the banning of the American flag at taxpayer-funded campuses.
Numerous professors and students from universities across the state have signed a letter of support for the students who passed the resolution, written in response to increasing hostility, death threats, and racial slurs.
UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman initially called the vote "outrageous and indefensible", and stated that the campus would install additional flagpoles. After criticism from students, faculty and others, however, Gillman published a conciliatory op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, urging a stop to the harassment of students and stating that criticism of the United States flag "is a feature of university life and a measure of a free society."