Monday, November 18

Town hall meeting on budget cuts to be held today at Janss Steps

Campus representatives to gather at noon to voice opinions on how the downsize will affect them

Students, faculty, union representatives and other campus leaders will gather at Janss Steps today to discuss the university’s response to the budget cuts as well as suggestions for the university to move forward.

The town hall meeting, which was planned after the walkout, will begin at noon and feature speeches from a variety of campus representatives and anyone from the campus community who is interested in voicing their opinions.

“This is an opportunity for people who are really invested in maintaining a university acceptable to everyone … This is the best way to do this,” said Alejandra Cruz, a third-year law student who was involved in the planning process. “We see this as an opportunity for us … to represent UCLA’s students to a larger community and see what people have to say about how this affects them.”

The gathering initially evolved from a proposal to Chancellor Gene Block for a public forum to address campus concerns prior to the upcoming November University of California Board of Regents meeting.

Cruz said that the forum was intended to update both the administration and the greater campus community on important issues and make sure that both parties were on the same page.

“There is a lot more communication between chancellors at other UCs and their students, and we want this level of communication and transparency,” Cruz said.

Cruz said that Block was unresponsive. In a meeting with Janina Montero, vice chancellor of student affairs, and Bob Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students, the administrators said that Block was busy meeting with people outside of the UCLA campus at the time.

However, Block said he did not receive a proposal from the students and was not sure that a town hall meeting right before the regents meeting was the best way to voice their concerns.

He said that while vocal students received greater attention, the administration wanted to know the opinions of a vast majority of students. Thus, forums may not be the easiest place to learn these views.

However, he added that public forums can be effective, although they need to be properly timed and have a controlled format.

Montero and Naples said that Block was willing to meet with students after the regents meeting, but by that time, Cruz thought that it would be a moot point.

“It would defeat our purpose in expressing our concerns to the regents,” she said.

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