Rahim Reed retires from the community he helped build


Of all the words in Rahim Reed’s long title – Assistant Executive Vice Chancellor for Campus Community Relations – the one that meant most to him was “community”.

“Everyone supports the community,” said Reed, who retired in June after 20 years in the post he was first to hold. “Everyone loves to be part of a community.


The campus is invited to a virtual retirement celebration on Tuesday (July 20), starting at 11:30 a.m., and to post messages and / or photos on a Kudoboard. A Rahim Reed scholarship fund has also been established. See full information below.

Today, its Campus Community Relations Office has been integrated into the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office. “Make no mistake,” he said, “this has always been a priority for me, but when I arrived in 2001 the term“ diversity, equity and inclusion ”was not yet widely used. used.

He came here from the University of Florida, where he was one of the founders of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations, and was director of the center from 1998 until he moved to Davis.

“I decided to go to the real world to try and make changes,” he said.

In the shadow of September 11

The real world brought an immediate challenge that no one expected: September 11, which happened six days before Reed arrived on campus.

“Imagine a person whose job it was to create a sense of community, well-being and belonging, stepping into a situation where the entire nation felt a little fragile and a little disconnected and maybe even a little more suspicious. towards the people we have classified. like “the other”, so it was a very difficult time, to say the least.

“One of the first things we put in place, from the start,” he said, “was an annual commemoration at the Union Memorial flag pole. “We were looking for ways and things we could do to bring the campus together, to bring all segments of the campus together.”

Reed, left, and Mikael Villalobos discuss the Campus Community Book Project in 2013. Villalobos was then administrator of the diversity education program; he is now deputy director of diversity. (Gregory Urquiaga / UC Davis)

The Campus Community Book Project was another post-9/11 initiative from Reed’s office, to promote respectful conversation between people with different views on a common topic. “We saw this as yet another way to live our principles of community,” he said. The project started in 2002-03 and has continued every year since, reserving # 20 in 2021-22.

“From the start, we wanted this to be much more than a book recommendation for freshmen,” Reed said, returning once again to the theme of “community”.

“This is truly a community book project on campus, not only for freshmen, but also for returning students, faculty and staff, on the Davis campus and at UC Davis Health. And we went further by extending the project to surrounding communities.

“And then we started to set up a timeline, where we could discuss the things that were in the book that we agreed with and things that we might not agree with, but we could. do it in a very solid but respectful way. “

2004: Reed meets ASUCD Senator Caliph Assagai, left, and LeVale Simpson, center, Chancellor’s Assistant Student – all three members of the Davis-Davis City Student Liaison Committee discuss relations between the police and the students. (Debbie Aldridge / UC Davis)

Wisdom in the midst of the tumult

Renetta Garrison Tull, Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion since 2019, said: “During the past tumultuous year with COVID-19, racial unrest and so many other issues, j I was particularly looking forward to benefiting from Rahim’s wisdom and institutional knowledge.

“Rahim is our leader in community engagement, and we will continue to maintain the legacy he created through the Office of Community Relations on campus.”


Have you ever seen AEVC Reed other than a suit and tie? Dateline hadn’t – until our interview with Zoom, when he wore a short-sleeved shirt, (long) khakis, and a baseball cap. It was his last day at the office.

Reed’s career at the University of Florida spanned 14 years, first as Assistant Dean for Student and Minority Affairs at the College of Law, then as Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations. He was president of the university’s Council on Affirmative Action from 1994 to 1996.

Prior to Florida, he was Assistant Dean in the Office of African Affairs at the University of Virginia from 1986 to 1988. He was a lecturer / advisor at the University of Pittsburgh and a teaching assistant at Rutgers University Law School.

Originally from Pennsylvania, he received a bachelor’s degree (psychology and black studies) and two master’s degrees (public administration and social work) from the University of Pittsburgh. He holds a law degree from Rutgers.

He is an active member of several national organizations, including the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and the Global STEM Leadership Alliance, and also sits on several boards of directors in the Davis-Sacramento area, including the Greater Sacramento Urban League. , Urban Advocates & Achievers, United Way-Square One Project and International House.

Reed visits students who drop off on the Quad during the Black Fall Welcome in 2019 (Karin Higgins / UC Davis)

Create opportunities

His move to UC Davis came as a number of states began to impose limits on affirmative action, such as California, through Proposition 209 in 1996.

“I saw the opportunity to come to California, come into the UC system, and maybe create a model on how you can reconcile Proposition 209 or these other constitutional amendments or executive orders against race and ethnicity used in the hiring, admitting or contracting processes – how we might still have a commitment to diversity and create those opportunities for minorities.

“And I thought if it could be done at the University of California then it could be a model that could be replicated across the country. And, so, that was part of the challenge that drove me to come to Davis.

“TTo be honest, I first thought that maybe in the UC system something like this might show up in Berkeley or UCLA. But to my surprise, it came from UC Davis, who was supposed to be, you know, the more conservative sister in the campus system, the agricultural school.

“I applauded UC Davis for being forward thinking – it was not an easy thing for them back then.”

Reed and his colleagues listen to a speaker at an open house hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2019, to celebrate the office’s new home at Mrak Hall. (Gregory Urquiaga / UC Davis)

“He laid the foundations”

Now UC Davis applauds him. “He laid the foundation for what we now know as DEI”, Vice-Chancellor Tull wrote in the July 8 edition of For Your Information, the e-newsletter of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

She also announced a virtual retirement celebration for Reed and a scholarship fund in his honor. See full information below.

Earlier this year, in Soaring to New Heights, Reed received the Eleanor Fontes Fulton Award for 2021, recognizing professional achievements in promoting diversity and inclusion, named after the retired director of the Office for Diversity, Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity.

Reed is quick to share the credit with his team and others on campus, and points out the Chancellor’s Award of Excellence for Diversity and Community, started under his leadership, honoring faculty, staff, students and others for their efforts.

He said he was grateful that 20 years ago UC Davis saw the importance of community relations and that, as he had hoped, his office served as a model for other campuses in the UC. And, of course, he’s grateful for the relationships his office has forged with all kinds of groups and stakeholders across campus – faculty, staff, and students – and in the community at large.

Appreciate diversity

Ron Mangun, then dean of the Division of Social Sciences, and Reed joined other campus leaders in reaffirming community principles in April 2015. (Karin Higgins / UC Davis)

Reed’s tenure began and ended with crises that drastically changed our nation. “We are not the same country as before September 11, and we will never be the same after the coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and 2021,” he said.

The most recent crises shattered the myth that the nation had started to transition to a post-racial society, he said. The pandemic has exacerbated disparities in health care and highlighted other ongoing inequalities, while Floyd’s murder catalyzed a movement for police reform.

“We have work to do,” Reed said, but UC Davis is well positioned with its established structures, including the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Police Accountability Board, created and managed by the Campus Community Office. Reports.

“You know, we had a slogan that we had in our office, some a long time ago, simply saying, “Diversity is about being human. “

“Which means if you’re human you know you’ll be different from the next human. It’s a fact of being human that we have diversity, and therefore what we need to be able to do is understand and appreciate the diversity within us, and use it to create a better environment for us. all.


“Finally, we are paying tribute to Rahim’s dedication to the community by unveiling a scholarship in his honor for the students of Sacramento,” said Vice Chancellor Tull. The scholarship will help students who have graduated from a public high school in Sacramento County and have been accepted to UC Davis, with preference given to students graduating from one of the following high schools:

  • American Legion
  • Luther burbank
  • Capital city
  • Engineering and science
  • Health professions
  • Hiram johnson
  • John F. Kennedy
  • CK McClatchy
  • Rosemont
  • West Campus

Given Reed’s work with specific programs, additional priority may be given to students who have attended the National Society of Black Engineers Jr. (NSBE Jr.) and / or Urban Advocates & Achievers, besides being a graduate of one of the favorite high schools.

How to contribute:

  • Online – Click on “Donate now”; specify “Rahim Reed Award” in the Special Instructions / Comments box.
  • Contact Lauren Kidd by email for more information or to make a gift.

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