UC Irvine wants $8 million for place to meditate

Orange County Register: UC Irvine is proposing an “unmatched” plan to help students of different religious, racial, cultural and political backgrounds to interact more peacefully — construction of an $8 million Center for Awareness, Reflection and Meditation.

The university says it will “seek funding from private and public sources to design and construction” of the center, which is “among the highest priorities” of (UCI) Chancellor Michael V. Drake, .M.D.

“The mission of the center will be to foster contemplation, self-reflection, and quiet thought and, in the process, promote awareness of and conscientious action by discovering common ground and communicating in an open and respectful manner while practicing good citizenship on campus.”

Tentative plans call for constructing the 3-story, 8,000 square foot center next to Aldrich Park, not far from where 11 students — eight from UCI and 3 from UC Riverside — were arrested Monday for interrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, who was giving a talk on U.S.-Israel relations.

The planning document says the proposed center would “build on the strong foundation laid and the lessons learned through such programs as the Olive Tree Initiative. Founded in 2007, the Olive Tree Initiative was established by UC Irvine students working closely with Chancellor Drake and Vice Chancellor (Manuel) Gomez to discuss constructively and respectfully conditions and issues in Israel and Palestine.”

UCI says it hopes to have a “fundable strategy” for the building by the end of this year.

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