Tuesday, July 16

USAC President Devin Murphy resigns


Devin Murphy took office as the USAC president in spring. (Courtesy of Associated Students UCLA)

Devin Murphy took office as the USAC president in spring. (Courtesy of Associated Students UCLA)


This post was updated on Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m.

Undergraduate student government president Devin Murphy resigned from office Friday, saying his job and the campus climate had taken a toll on his mental, emotional and physical health.

In an online statement, Murphy said he thinks UCLA needs to improve campus climate for students of color.

“As an Afro-Cuban queer male, the toll that the stresses of this campus has had on my mental, physical and emotional health is nothing any student should ever have to go through – but this is unfortunately something with which many students of color deal,” he said in the statement.

Murphy added in the statement that he thinks he had ignored his work as a student, friend and family member, and he plans to find more balance in his life through this decision.

“My work as president – which I will never regret or wish had been done differently – has overwhelmingly consumed the energies I should have been balancing,” he said in the statement. “At this time, I must remember why I came to this campus – to be a Bruin.”

Murphy could not be reached for comment for this article.

According to the USAC constitution, the association must hold a special election within 28 days of an officer’s resignation to fill the position if a vacancy occurs before the midpoint of an officer’s term. It is unclear whether the council will hold a special election in this case.

If a vacancy occurs after the midpoint of the academic year, USAC is required to fill the position through an order of succession.

If USAC does not hold a special election, Internal Vice President Avinoam Baral will be set to take over the position, according to the USAC constitution.

Baral’s current position would then be filled through open interviews, a nomination by the president and an appointment by the majority of the council. The appointment would occur no more than 21 days after Baral took on the position of president, according to the USAC constitution.

Baral said he is now the acting chair of council.

The exact length of a term in office could be debated. It is unclear whether a councilmember’s term starts when they are elected, when they are sworn in or when USAC holds its installation ceremony. The USAC constitution says all elected officers must serve one year in office, unless they are removed from office or their successors are appointed or elected. The date of the regular spring USAC election is not yet set.

Counting from the date councilmembers were elected – on May 9 – or sworn in – on May 13, the midpoint of the term passed at least two days ago. Counting from the installation ceremony on June 1, the midpoint has not passed.

Murphy resigned a few days before USAC was expected to vote on a controversial resolution calling for the University of California to divest from several companies that some say profit from human rights violations in Gaza and the West Bank.

The council has not said whether it plans to hold a special election to fill the vacancy or how it will proceed with the divestment resolution meeting.

Compiled by Amanda Schallert, Bruin senior staff.

Editor’s Note: Commenting has been closed for this article because some comments were deemed as hateful speech.

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  • Too Bad

    Yik Yak must have gotten to him.

  • Publius

    Let me paraphrase his farewell message:

    ‘I wanted to be president more than I was prepared for it. I wanted to be president more than I was willing to make tough decisions. I wanted to be president more than I was willing to understand the USAC constitution. I wanted to be president more than I was willing to take a bold stand for or against divestment, a stand which would affect my political future.

    But I won’t admit any of that. Instead, let me accuse the UCLA student body of being too racist and homophobic for me to feel welcome as president. Even though UCLA is years ahead of most other colleges, I would still rather have you believe all the terrible things I learned about society in my _________ theory class is the norm at UCLA.

    Now, I would like to go on with the rest of my life and career blaming everyone else for my failures in peace.’

  • Guest

    So you believe everything a politician tells you because you. Well that’s…healthy. Please vote more wisely.

  • Publius

    So you believe everything a politician tells you. Well that’s…healthy. Please vote more wisely.

  • Benjamin Gelbart

    Oh god here we go again with the racism and homophobia card. Devin I wish you the best. This probably was not an easy decision to make. Using those comments on the other hand overlooks the fact that those identity stressors you named in your quotes are not just a central aspect to UCLA, they are relevant to all aspects of your life when those are your identities. In fact it is the demand of each of those identities that stresses you and throws off equilibrium. Blaming UCLA for all of those problems is unfair and overlooks the bigger picture. On the other hand I hope your split from USAC is therapeutic and you are able to recover both your emotional and physical wellbeing.

  • sam

    These well-liked comments above are shameful and ignorant, though not necessarily unexpected.

    That you don’t understand why this young man felt excluded and distressed by the campus climate says nothing about Devon Murphy. What it says is that you have no idea what it’s like to face the ignorance, scrutiny and sometimes oblivious but so often racially and sexually coded remarks, attitudes and practices that make it difficult to be a person of color, or a gender queer person on campus. (And yes, outright racism does happen too…check out the law school). He didn’t need to learn these things in “____ theory class” because he experienced them daily. For some reason, you can’t hear that, or trust that his experience was true for him–why is that?? That is the question I beg you to ask yourself–and all of the people liking these comments. Please take a second and ask yourself, “What did he go through? Why did he feel the way he says he felt?” Maybe go watch Dear White People for an easy first glimpse, but don’t stop there. Obliviousness and unthinking ignorance is all it takes to keep our university a place where privileges go unquestioned and the struggles of many are overlooked.