Tuesday, May 9, 2017
On the 25th anniversary, UCLA student govt. is apparently not getting along
Racial tensions inflame UCLA student body election, driving calls for more representation
Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 5-8-17
At UCLA, the furor started with a photo of the undergraduate student body president, making a hand sign associated with the Bloods. Danny Siegel is white. He was wearing a suit and tie. Many African American students were angered by what they saw as a man of white privilege mocking their community and clueless about the poverty and despair that drive some in it into gangs. There were those, of course, who said to chill out, the photo was a joke.
But anger over the image appears to have contributed to the stunning defeat of Siegel’s campus party in last week’s undergraduate student elections — and the intensity of the reaction was the latest sign of discontent among many University of California students of color who believe that administrators and some fellow students continue to slight them and to discount their needs. Although UC has steadily increased the enrollment of low-income and minority students and invested millions of dollars into academic and social support services for them, some students say the efforts are not nearly enough.
Alicia Frison, chairwoman of the UCLA Afrikan Student Union, said African American students face problems throughout the 10-campus university system. At UC Santa Cruz, more than 100 black students occupied Kerr Hall for three days last week before Chancellor George Blumenthal agreed to meet their demands for a guarantee of four years of housing at the Rosa Parks African American Theme House, as well as more student lounge space and the inclusion of diversity education at student orientations.
Frison said African American students at UC San Diego are upset about white nationalist organizations on campus and black victims of sexual violence at UC Santa Barbara have joined sit-ins pressing for more services. At UCLA, African American students have issued a list of demands, including hiring more faculty of color.
“The problems are systemwide,” Frison said...
In last week’s UCLA elections, Siegel’s Bruins United political party, for the first time in several years, failed to win a plurality of the 14 student council seats when votes were counted late Friday. Students running as independents — most of them black, Latino and Asian American — won nine seats...
Siegel, the outgoing student body president, has apologized publicly for the photo and told The Times this week that it was “foolish and immature.” But he said the photo was taken a year ago and just recently showed up on social media, “strategically leaked knowing it would inflame racial tensions and help them in the election.” As for last year’s scandal, he insisted that Bruins United had nothing to do with the fraternity document, despite people’s efforts to link them.
Since the photo was circulated, Siegel said he has received threats and another Bruins United member was physically assaulted on campus...
Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-uc-racial-tensions-20170508-story.html
*He actually said a lot more than the one sentence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgiR04ey7-M