Op-Ed: If I Wear Jeans, You Must Call Me Jeans Block

To the Campus Community:

On Monday morning, I substituted my normal chancellorial slacks for a pair of comfortable, stylish, denim jeans. Yet for the entire day, I was merely addressed as Chancellor Gene Block, when I was clearly fishing for someone to call me something funny and quirky like, I don’t know, maybe, Jeans Block?? This fateful wardrobe choice forced me to become aware of a glaring issue facing our school today: our community’s shameful lack of appreciation for nickname-related wordplay.

I became the sixth Chancellor of UCLA in 2007, and ever since then, I have performed my duties to the best of my abilities. I have championed diversity in the student body, encouraged on-campus entrepreneurship, and spent an entire hour every quarter interacting with students. I attend meetings. I send group emails. I have poured my blood, sweat, and tears into this school, and how am I repaid? By having my totally hilarious pun setup completely ignored by faculty and students alike. Also by a $460,000 annual salary (not including benefits).

This is nothing less than unacceptable. Jeans Block! Jeeeeaaans Block. Get it? Because of my jeans. Let me break it down in scientific terms: in normal circumstances, my name is Gene D. Block. However, my environment’s parameters were changed on Monday when I wore jeans as my choice of legwear. Jeans sounds incredibly phonetically similar to Gene. Thus, were someone to have called me Jeans Block instead of Gene Block, it would have been really, really, really funny.

It is the university’s responsibility to make sure that every staff member, student, and faculty member understands that this joke is downright hilarious. This incident has demonstrated that the university must do a better job of recognizing great opportunities to come up with funny nicknames for me based on my choice of dress. We can and must do better.


Gene D. Block