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Gene Block, Steve Olsen on Centennial Campaign, enrollment increase

The Daily Bruin spoke with Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor Steve Olsen about campus issues, including the effect of increasing undergraduate enrollment, the Geffen Academy and the federal lawsuit against history professor Gabriel Piterberg. (Jillian Frankel/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Nicholas Yu

March 1, 2016 12:19 a.m.

Chancellor Gene Block meets with the Daily Bruin editorial board every quarter to discuss issues affecting the campus and to explain administrative policies. At the meeting Monday, Block, who was joined by Vice Chancellor Steve Olsen, spoke about the Centennial Campaign, the effect of increasing undergraduate enrollment, the Geffen Academy and the federal lawsuit against history professor Gabriel Piterberg, among other topics.

  • Block said UCLA has received $2.4 billion in donations for its Centennial Campaign, more than half of its goal of $4.2 billion by 2019. He added UCLA has received about 275,000 contributions from more than 133,000 donors.
  • Block said UCLA’s current endowment is $3.5 billion, and hopes it will reach $5 billion by the end of the Centennial Campaign. Endowment funds are invested and primarily serve as a buffer in the case of financial crises.
  • He added UCLA expects to accommodate an extra 750 undergraduates next year as part of a University of California-wide initiative to increase undergraduate enrollment by 5,000 across the UC system.
  • Block said he understands the decision to increase the number of undergraduates because many California families are frustrated with the current acceptance rate of resident UC applicants.
  • He added UCLA will receive some money from the UC to accommodate the increase in enrollment. He said the UC currently compensates UCLA $5,000 for every student who enrolls.
  • Olsen said the increase in number of students will require UCLA to make major renovations to classrooms and expand student facilities, including mental health resources. He added UCLA will renovate lecture halls such as Moore 100 and Court of Sciences 24, 50 and 76 over the summer to increase the number of seats in lecture halls.
  • Olsen said UCLA finished a 15-year period of construction on the Hill, and UCLA’s existing housing infrastructure is now equipped to accommodate the increase in enrollment.
  • Block said UCLA will have to increase the number of teaching assistants and lecturers to account for the student increase. Olsen added he does not expect classroom sizes to increase.
  • Block said half of the future Geffen Academy students will come from the Los Angeles community and the rest will be children of UCLA faculty and staff. The Geffen Academy, a middle and high school that will open in 2017, is funded by a $100 million donation from David Geffen.
  • He added the selection criteria for the academy has not yet been decided.
  • Olsen said most offices on the second and third floors of the Kinross Building, the future site of the Geffen Academy, will be relocated to the Occidental Petroleum Building. UCLA purchased the 16-story office building that houses the Hammer Museum in October.
  • He added UCLA is looking to purchase more properties in Westwood if opportunities arise.
  • Block said he could not comment on the settlement between UCLA and Piterberg that allowed him to return to teach next quarter. Piterberg was suspended last spring without pay after two graduate students filed sexual assault complaints against him.
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Nicholas Yu | Assistant news editor
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