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Students discuss funding options for transfer center

USAC Office of the Transfer Student Representative held a town hall to discuss the creation of a transfer resource center on campus. (Kailey Rishovd/Daily Bruin)

By Daily Bruin Staff

Feb. 27, 2015 12:32 p.m.

A vice chancellor proposed a student fee referendum to fund a transfer student center on campus at a town hall meeting held by the Undergraduate Students Association Council Transfer Student Representative’s office Thursday.

About 15 students and UCLA administrators met at the Los Angeles Tennis Center to work out details surrounding the construction of a proposed new transfer center that would serve the needs of transfer students.

Some students have said the current Bruin Resource Center doesn’t offer enough help for transfer students transitioning to life at UCLA because it serves many different types of students.

Janina Montero, vice chancellor of student affairs, said she doesn’t think a transfer student center would be possible unless the student body passes a fee referendum during the student government election.

“Students have always been reluctant to vote for a referendum, and that is why it is difficult to create spaces for them,” Montero said.

She added that student and alumni donations could play a role in building financial resources, but they would not be enough to cover the total budget of the new center, and she thinks a referendum would be necessary.

Transfer Student Representative Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, said she does not think there is a need for a referendum to fund the costs of building such a center.

“We need to explore alternate funding options, for example donations from alumni who used to be transfer students at UCLA,” Sadeghi-Movahed said at the meeting. “I am confident that we can come up with a solution.”

She added she thinks students would not support such a referendum or a hike in school fees to cover the costs of a center.

A fee to support diversity-related student groups has failed to pass in the past two elections. The most recent fee increase passed was the $1.33 per quarter Bruin Bash fee referendum in 2013.

At the meeting, students, administrators and meeting panelists had a discussion about whether there is a need for a transfer student center. Most attendees agreed that a transfer center would be a good addition to the resources available to students.

“A lot of information is given to us at orientation and other events, but it is hard to filter it all out,” said Hitasha Shah, a fourth-year political science student who attended the event. “Just the name of a transfer center would bring a sense of belonging as we would know what department is specifically for us.”

Problems such as lack of space and funds for the center were also considered at the meeting.

“The conversation about the creation of a transfer center had been going on for decades, but the issue of space and funding prevented us from building the center,” said Heather Adams, UCLA transfer student program coordinator at the Bruin Resource Center.

Both Montero and Paolo Velasco, interim director at the Bruin Resource Center, said they think a transfer center should be situated near the center of campus, where all transfer students would be able to access it.

“Reconfiguring of the spaces in the Student Activities Center or expanding Ackerman would solve the problem of a location for the center,” Montero said.

Keytiana Hempstead, chief of staff at the Transfer Student Representative’s office and a fourth-year political science and African American studies student, said USAC is connecting with UC Berkeley to ask about the workings of the transfer center in place there.

She said that she thinks UCLA may be able to model a future transfer center after the one in UCB.

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