Sunday, March 29

UCLA grad students stage sit-in following recent discrimination report

Students staged a sit-in Thursday in Moore Hall in response to a report released in October outlining how UCLA insufficiently treated incidents of racial discrimination. Brandon Choe / Daily Bruin

This post was updated at 7:06 p.m.

About 25 graduate students staged a sit-in in a Moore Hall classroom Thursday afternoon, in response to a recent investigative report which stated that UCLA’s policies and procedures do not sufficiently address racial discrimination incidents among faculty members.

The protest took place during a graduate class, where students participated in a mock oral examination, said Professor Val Rust, who led the class.

Nora Cisneros, a graduate student, read a letter written collectively by several students, which described the class – and the graduate school as a whole – as being an unsafe climate for students of color.

“There are documented and undocumented stories of a hostile and toxic environment for students of color here in Moore Hall and throughout the campus,” she said, reading from the letter.

The 25 students in the class represented most of the students of color in the division, said Marianna Anaya, a graduate student and one of the organizers of the sit-in.

A majority of the students at the sit-in were graduate students at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, though some undergraduate students also attended. Many of the students were clad in UCLA T-shirts.

At the sit-in, students took turns sharing their personal experiences with racial discrimination as others listened. Some said they wanted the university to investigate these incidents and provide additional funding for improving campus climate.

Other students were emotional as they spoke about their experiences.

Alma Flores, a graduate student in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, became tearful as she talked about the racial discrimination she has faced at UCLA.

“As a woman of color, I should not have to get up every single day to have my identity questioned. … I am tired of it,” she said, crying as she spoke. “I’m tired, and it hurts me so much.”

The report the students at the sit-in were addressing was drafted by former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno after 30 faculty asked administrators for a review of the “campus racial climate.” Chancellor Gene Block released the report and a statement in an email to administrative heads and faculty members last month. He announced plans to hire a full-time discrimination officer and work with the Academic Senate to ensure that UCLA’s policies regarding discrimination are clear.

Nichole Garcia, another student in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, said Thursday’s sit-in is one of a series of steps the students hope to take to address their concerns. “As grad students, we sometimes forget we can take action like when we were undergrads,” she said.

The university said it did not want to comment further regarding the sit-in on Thursday.

Compiled by Yael Levin, Bruin senior staff. Contributing reports by Sam Hoff, Bruin reporter, and Samah Pirzada and Madeleine Wright, Bruin contributors.

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  • Mainlander

    The US is the least racist country in the world. Look around. Being obsessed with perceived “micro-aggressions” drags us back 40 or 50 years.

    • Dudley Morris

      The perpetually aggrieved need to find something to explain away their multiple inadequacies. More realistically, this is just more evidence of the complete collapse of admission standards over the past 40 years.

    • Sally Smith
    • Denver Goddess

      Hey have to invent them because there’s nothing going on otherwise. They don’t earn a good grade so dat be raciesss and sheeeut.

  • Pat_Loudoun
  • Correllio

    Micro-agression? Seriously? How old are these students? Two? Just. Get. Over. Yourselves.

  • Richard Johnston

    Micro-aggressive graders of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but the task of grading.

  • AndrewX

    To paraphrase the great George Orwell, “you have to be (at a university) to believe such nonsense, no ordinary person could ever be such a fool”.

    Do these people even realize that they are destroying higher education as we know it, simply by reducing it to farce? And BTW, there is a line here that you will see pop up every single time that you hear about this kind of idiocy brought to the fore – “Alma Flores, a graduate student in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, became tearful as she talked…..”

    EVERY TIME, you will see this. Basically people who are proud and forthright about the fact that they have the emotional lives of five-year-olds. And they do for one simple reason – they are rewarded for being so!. What we used to hold as something slightly shameful, allowing blathering emotion to prevail over rational discourse and mature reasoning, we know hold up as some sort of moral superiority. “I cry about it, you don’t, therefore I am morally superior to you based on that alone.”

    This is our reality. Now look around you. Can you really be surprised at the moral and material wreckage of what used to be a great civilization piling up by the day?

  • Mark Believeit Farmer

    German language has between 50 to 250 dialects depending on which expert you ask. However, university level work is only accepted in high German. BEV and Hispanic English are merely dialects. University level work, particularly doctoral work, should only be accepted in standard American English at American universities.

  • S&A

    I have taught students who speak English as a second, third or fourth language. I cannot think of a single one of them who did not want to achieve the highest possible proficiency in English through their own hard work, and many of them made a specific request to me to correct any mistakes they made either verbally or in their written work (grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, malapropisms etc). They did not regard corrections as discriminatory, but as part of an effort to assist in their own personal education. In fact, they would have regarded it as discriminatory and patronising to hold them to a lower standard than their native English-speaking counterparts.

    Everyone who was involved in this protest needs to take a long, hard look at themselves. They are supposed to be graduate students in education, and if they have aspirations to be teachers, then they should be open-minded about their own learning experience, which means accepting that they will make mistakes, and that they should learn from them. And that includes basic proficency in English.
    If they were at a university in France, and they protested about the fact that their tutors corrected them for using the past pluperfect instead of perfect, they would be greeted with ridicule. If they were in China learning Mandarin, and they protested against their professor drawing attention to basic mistakes in writing characters, they would probably be off the course.

    Prof Rust comes across here as a conscientious and hard-working tutor. If he were not committed to his job as an educator, and did not regard all his students as equal, he would be doing a Friday-job on all his assessments and not bothering to offer any recommendations to them as to how to improve their writing style. His students should be thanking him for his efforts to help with their education, and those involved in this ridiculous ‘protest’ owe him an apology, and owe themselves a chance to grow up.

  • Sparky

    What “stories of a hostile and toxic environment for students of color”?

    What “personal experiences with racial discrimination”?

    Who exactly is being accused of what here? Lousy job of reporting, Daily Bruin.

    • robert anthony

      It’s not the reporting…it’s the ‘students’ claims…there’s no story on crimes and discrimination here because the students have no story of crime and discrimination.

  • robert anthony

    Wow….a large group of Latino students, afforded the luxury of being graduate students in a major university, whining about how ‘poorly treated’ they are….oh, cry me a river, muchachos.

    “As a woman of color, I should not have to get up every single day to have my identity questioned. … I am tired of it,” she said, crying as she spoke. “I’m tired, and it hurts me so much.” And this is, of course, because correcting students’ work is ‘racist’ and ‘micro-aggression’. Try being a tax-paying ‘gringo’, dear, one who doesn’t adhere to the liberal religion…THEN talk to me about insults, accusations, slander, racism, and accusations.

    • Denver Goddess

      How many of them came here legally?

  • FredZarguna

    Inevitably, non-judgemental self-esteem building exercises will be pole-axed by the reality that one is, in fact, a [email protected] In and of itself, there really isn’t anything wrong with being inarticulate and uneducated … most of us enter the school system this way. But when one arrives at the level of post-graduate education and is still having papers redlined for spelling, grammar, and punctuation, you are nothing more or less than a failure. The correct remedy adults apply in this situation is to address it, by sucking it up and getting down to work, rather than whining about it. I suspect what really hurts these students is that they’ve suspected all along that they really weren’t too swift, and they’ve now arrived at the realization that they are, in fact, imposters.Rather than face such a grim reality, they’ve decided to play a card that’s trumped everything time and time again throughout their careers. Unfortunately, your race card is overdrawn, and has been declined. Samuel Johnson said that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Apparently today, the last refuge is the worn out cry of “discrimination.”

  • Sally Smith

    This article does not cite even one example of “racial discrimination.”

    A blogger has written about this article at

  • Farrightofleft

    What a load of crap! So, if I grade a male student’s paper using blue ink pen, and I “blue-balling” the student? This is what we get with this pc crap. The perpetually Offended States of America.

  • Farrightofleft

    What a load of crap! So, if I grade a male student’s paper using blue
    ink pen, am I “blue-balling” the student? This is what we get with this
    pc crap. The perpetually Offended States of America.

  • Brittany

    Uhhhhmmmm read the report if you’re going to comment…seriously…the sit in was encouraged by a professional, outside investigation of racial issues on campus.

    And this is an ongoing, serious problem

    • Denver Goddess

      Brittany, what you are seeing is a neo-Marxist hoax. Correcting bad papers is not aggression. If you think it is, little princess, you have issues.

      • Brittany

        Please don’t use degrading and abusive language towards me like “little princess”

        Please read the Independent Investigative Report, although I don’t expect you to.

        Given that you’re an obvious troll page, I don’t know how you expect anyone to take you seriously.

        • Oof

          You’re asking a racist creep to read. It’s a noble effort, but it isn’t going to happen.

        • Cromulent

          Well, if you don’t like being called a little princess, how about the term “doltish trollop”? Does that work for you?

        • Mifty Popularis

          Ha all this shows is whether there are sufficient resources for “faculty of color,” whatever that means. People are individuals. There are already policies against harassment and there is zero evidence of any institutional problems with racism at UCLA. In fact, much of this hysteria (was labeling it that a type of “micro-aggression”?) seems to be trumped up in an ever-increasing desire to get more visibility, more money, more facilities, more more more more. And who pays for all this?

    • MJ Wise
  • Denver Goddess

    Neo-Marxist rabble. Blaming whitey instead of keeping up to proper academic standards. Don’t like being knocked off for bad work? Quit school because you’ve only seen the beginning of it. You do not dictate academic standards to faculty; these standards have been around forever and are applied to everyone.
    Aside from that, blaming your failings on whites is pathetic. Want something to consider? Then consider that blacks average 15 points lower in IQ than whites and Mexicans 10 points lower. If that’s your problem in keeping up with everyone else, blame God.

  • Denver Goddess

    All you little hurt babies need to take a psych class. You’ll soon discover that you suffer from something called HOSTILE ATTRIBUTIONAL BIAS.
    Good day!

  • MJ Wise
  • Mifty Popularis

    What babies. Can these students (some of whom may be on campus due to UCLA’s continued record of continue to practice illegal affirmative action under the guise of “holistic” admissions) not compete with other students on grades or expect — demand really — to have everything handed to them? The students here are doing a gross disservice to other minority students who are actually working hard to succeed.

  • Barryfromkenya

    Hispanics are minorities in Southern California?