Charles Weis: In Memorium
Charles Weis established a fund to support the work of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS at UCR. This fund sustains the work of the committee and provides a funding source for projects that address HIV/AIDS awareness on our campus.
Weis, who directed UCR's psychological counseling center for 10 years and worked to protect the rights of minorities on campus and in the community, died in 1990 of AIDS complications. He was 41.
Weis was instrumental in the passage of ordinances in Riverside County and the City of Riverside that protected AIDS patients from discrimination in such areas as housing and employment. Throughout his remaining years, he pushed for the passage of a city anti-discrimination ordinance protecting homosexuals.
Weis was active in gay and lesbian political causes, and was described by many as a voice for all minorities.
Former colleges at UCR described Weis, who had a doctoral degree in psychology, as a skilled clinician and a "champion for students." He directed the UCR Counseling Center from 1979 until his medical retirement in 1989 — a period of tremendous growth at UCR.
During his tenure, he also set up a mentor program that linked gay and lesbian students with others who could provide guidance.
Weis was described by those who knew him as a bright and sensitive man who had a remarkable capacity to make people feel comfortable — but he could be confrontational when he believed it necessary.
Like his partner of 15 years, David Susky, who died in 1989, Weis insisted that his death be attributed to AIDS. Friends said he believed ignorance about the incurable disease was responsible for the fear and hatred that grew around it.
He wanted to remind people that AIDS "affects the people next door and it's not a disease that affects somebody else," said Cindy Paxton, a longtime friend, licensed marriage and family therapist, and professor emerita of health sciences at CSU San Bernardino.
A native of Dallas, Weis earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and his doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Dallas. He moved to Riverside in 1978.
Weis served on the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center board of directors and was an active member of the Political Action Committee for Elections, a local gay and lesbian political organization. He helped train people in crisis intervention at the Volunteer Center of Riverside.
Weis was also a former president of the statewide Organization of Counseling Center Directors in Higher Education.