Wednesday, December 11

Afrikan Student Union releases list of demands for UCLA administration

Afrikan Student Union Chair Alicia Frison said the group has been working on a list of demands from the university and decided to release the list in light of the recent student government elections. (Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin)

Afrikan Student Union Chair Alicia Frison said the group has been working on a list of demands from the university and decided to release the list in light of the recent student government elections. (Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin)

The Afrikan Student Union called on UCLA to create a Black Resource Center and a $40 million endowment to address African-American underrepresentation on campus in a list of demands it released Thursday.

Fourth-year philosophy and African American Studies student and Afrikan Student Union Chair Alicia Frison said the group worked on the demands throughout the year and decided to release the list now in response to recent incidents affecting African-American students.

“This year will be the 51st year the Afrikan Student Union is on campus,” ASU wrote in a statement, “however, 50 years later we are struggling with many of the same issues as our ancestors and elders dealt with in 1966. This is unacceptable.”

There are 1,485 African-American undergraduate students at UCLA, which is 4.8 percent of the undergraduate population.

On April 30, a picture that showed USAC President Danny Siegel holding up a gang sign was leaked, and on the same day there was a shooting near University of California, San Diego targeting African-American individuals. ASU also cited racist stickers posted around the offices of the Academic Advancement Program as a reason for releasing its list of demands.

“The demands are not really a response to Danny Siegel – there’s been a lot going on recently, and it felt like the right moment (to release the demands),” Frison said.

Frison said that many of the demands build on the requests the ASU made in 2015 after the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority held a “Kanye Western” theme party that many students said was racially insensitive.

Frison said she thinks most of the demands, including the $40 million endowment and the Black Resource Center, are feasible because they have been implemented in other universities, such as UC Berkeley.

“$40 million is just a drop in the bucket for the university,” Frison said. “Berkeley already has a $30 to $40 million endowment even though they have less African American students.”

The Black Resource Center would house meeting and safe spaces for ASU and its projects, such as the Academic Supports Program, Students Heightening Access Performance through Educations and the Afrikan Education Project. Frison said ASU spoke with African-American students at other universities that have similar centers when developing this demand.

ASU also demanded that the university create anti-discrimination policies against prejudiced behavior. For instance, the group requested that all incoming students, UCPD officers, faculty and staff go through anti-discriminatory competence training.

Additionally, ASU said the university should establish the position of Black Student Financial Aid Officer, someone who would advocate for financial aid for previously dismissed students and ensure four years of housing for black students.

Frison said that although the Community Programs Office has received more funds following the passage of the Social Justice Referendum from 2016, ASU’s SHAPE project, which is part of CPO, has not been able to hire more students. One of ASU’s demands is for SHAPE to receive funding from the administration.

“We’ve been denied new positions on our projects,” she said. “The climate in CPO is very stressed right now.”

Frison said ASU is giving the administration until May 18 to respond to their demands and schedule a meeting with Chancellor Gene Block.

“Recent events have awakened a lot of people’s attention to the campus climate,” Frison said. “I am hopeful all the demands will be met.”

UCLA spokesperson Brian Haas said the administration is reviewing the ASU’s list of demands. He added that minority student enrollment at UCLA has increased by 13 percent since 2012 and the university has improved its anti-discrimination procedures in recent years.

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News editor

Bharanidaran is the News editor. He was previously a news reporter for the campus politics beat, covering student government and the UCLA administration.

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  • gc83

    Since my Irish ancestors were sold into slavery before and during the trade of Afrikan slaves, i believe the $40 million should rightly go toward building a Irish history center on campus, as well as safe spaces where we won’t be bothered by anyone who’s not of Irish decent.

  • Ben Fischbane

    If UCLA goes ahead with this I would be disappointed. We can barely keep enough chalk in the classrooms, how could we possibly afford something like this? Focus on something that helps us as students as a whole, not something that is race specific. This just leads to more racial division within the campus.

    • Debra A. Hunter

      What’s your alternative for addressing this very real and very persistent issue?

      • Ben Fischbane

        Why are you entitled to go to this university just because you are black? You should be admitted to this university because you add to the intellectual community here. Why do you have to trivialize the admittance of a student to their skin color?

      • Piper Beatty Welsh

        I think this is a legitimate question. Some of these “demands” are very reasonable — such as having diversity and awareness heightening training for incoming students. That’s the sort of important community development program that universities should be funding. It adds to the overall experience of all students by teaching them how to work together with others who are different than them, and also how to make smart decisions to avoid or diffuse tense situations. Our young adults need those sorts of skills to survive and thrive, particularly in a country as culturally diverse as the US. It will serve them well far beyond college.

        Additionally, increasing funding for cultural programming and taking a firm stand against the problematic behaviors that led to the current climate would be a good step. So would sitting down with students face to face to listen to their concerns — a (nearly) free solution that goes a long way toward fostering an atmosphere of adult cooperation. Sponsoring some open forum discussions on these issues for the campus would also be smart.

        Finally, considering ways to ease the burden of first-generation college students is just plain smart — it helps better prepare an at-risk group of students without the same social support systems to succeed and be a boon for their community, both on and off campus. Such a program need not be race-specific, though undoubtedly it would have a significant benefit for the African American population. Empowering and equipping these already accepted students to do well will only raise the standards of the University as a whole and increase the quality of discussion and education in the classrooms. I call that a win-win.

        I work in the nonprofit sector, and it’s also possible to set up donor-funded endowments or giving programs that focus on specific issues. Starting one to be used on cultural/racial diversity issues isn’t a bad idea either. That allows donors who are concerned about these questions to give to the University in a way that lines up with their beliefs and addresses issues they care about. It needn’t be the only solution, but it’s one way to secure some additional funding for these programs that really can’t be criticized even by opponents, as one need not give to that fund if they disagree. Private market at work.

        • Piper Beatty Welsh

          I might add: the only one of these demands I personally find difficult to accept is the free housing for a specific race of students, just because I think that should be based solely on need across all races. I understand that certain populations are more likely to need such assistance, but even if it ends up going to 90% African Americans, I would still want a program like that to be based on an underlying criteria other than race.

          Beyond that, we need to empathize with these students and recognize that they are starting the negotiations high — a common tactic and not one to be summarily dismissed as somehow an act of privilege or entitlement. Far from it. This looks to me like a deliberately somewhat shocking and extensive list put together by students who have done their research and want to heighten awareness of their discomfort with the current climate on their campus. You don’t have to agree with every word, but an adult reader of this list ought to be able to accept it for what it is: a cleverly audacious first step in what should ultimately be a campus-wide discussion of how to make their community — their home for the next 4 years — a better, more effective place of learning for all students.

        • Katie Smith

          It isn’t realistic at all. Just substitute white in the demands – White students demand spaces safe from black students. White students demand free money. White students demand free housing that blacks cannot have. White students demand black students get trained in sensitivity and anti discrimination…. Sounds pretty awful when you reverse it, just as it sounds inflammatory and discriminatory when you read it as it is

        • Sean Stoops

          u know there used to be studies like that it was called ethics classes . the very thing liberals took out of education in california. i should know im from there and watched it happen. ethica and morals 101 was 2 classes we had to take in san diego high schools.seems alot of modern CHILDREN dont know what those are. basically the same sht as cultural diversity classes. maaaaan what a bag of crap cali has become courtesy of democrats . between liberal mentally unstable grown children, black thug terrorists hispanic illegals and muslim aggressors im surprised ucla isnt devoid of all whiteness. give it time it will be lmao.

        • Debra A. Hunter

          Thank you for a thoughtful answer.

      • Katie Smith

        No one is making them stay. They can quit and go to a college where their racism is welcomed

      • kujirakira

        “this very real and very persistent issue”

        Specifically, what is that? The height of their concern seems to be people making fun of Kanye West.
        That’s not an issue. If nobody can make fun of Kanye West just because he happens to have black skin — you’re probably the ones with major issues and biases.

        Secondly, the demands make it quite apparent they give **zero** fks about other minorities.
        There’s more Asians than Blacks. Latinos in general will be significantly more disadvantaged. We could keep going on.

        Financial Aid and Housing are just begging for free handouts based solely on the color of your skin. I’m sorry, you get the same student loan rates as the rest of us schmucks — and if you really can’t pay those off with a degree from UCLA, that’s a personal problem.

        Title VI already ensures these issues. Hire a lawyer if you have something that’s a real problem; guaranteed you’ll get millions out of any University in settlement. That is, if you have anything even remotely approaching a legitimate concern — not manufactured outrage about Kanye West.

        This nonsense should be a SNL skit #UnderprivlegedUCLAstudents

        • Debra Hunter

          Have you considered how your attitude (as demonstrated by your response) may contribute to the experiences they are seeking to address? What do you think it takes away from to acknowledge that the experience of others may be very different from your own? Or may create unreasonable discomfort? “Nonsense” is dismissive and reflects an unwillingness or inability to delve further to improve your understanding of what is being identified as an issue or to understand the redress sought. Time to be more thoughtful and pragmatic.

          As far as giving zero f**ks about other minorities. Are you kidding? When have other minorities LED a charge in mass numbers for equality when black americans/students were the primary victims? History shows others always benefit from the changes instigated by black americans.

    • BlackBruinTransfers4Ever

      This whole thing is so god damn stupid. As an African American Bruin, these people do NOT speak for me and these demands are divisive and inflammatory, because NONE of those projects, or programs, or anything affect my goal of going to class, getting an education, and getting a degree which is what school money should be spent on!

      How about this, we have Puffy’s kid here and Snoops kid here, and we have the Ball family here… we have former Bruins in the NBA and the NFL, and all sorts of rich black alumni… why can’t they drop the funds to help our community out if these programs are that necessary? We shouldn’t have to depend on the kindness of White Saviors and other BS when we have the tools to take care of our own, so why aren’t we taking care of our own instead of demanding everyone else bend over backwards to help us????

      • garyfouse

        Thank you for your common sense.

  • alonzo day

    I think these are legitimate demands and there should be a community concern attachment that points out that students do not want to be a sanctuary campus,nor does the community want it in this neighborhood. You have to try to study with this tension and fixate demand of see mexican or illegal immigrants or you socially wrong. No these black students don’t want to be fixated beyond repair not on illegals and their baggage or on the white symps that are scared of or using them.There’s alot to be fixed at UCLA and that’s a start. I am at LACC right now and it’s a major problem there with illegals in the classes,a major funk then cause trouble problem..Best of luck for these kids and keep trying to improve conditions and futures there.

    • Katie Smith

      Huh? Did you say you are at college right now?

  • Yuna Lee

    If black resource center is that urgent issue of our campus, why not Asian or international students’? Obviously those are the most populated ones. C’mon we all can live without our own race or ethnicity specific place to hang around, Aren’t we already too busy to go to classes?

  • Jaime Osbourn

    Why not just get an endowment from the African American community to build your $40 million dollar center?

  • Sunshine Friendly

    Wow these people are new racist that I couldn’t even dream of! So if my skin is of darker shade, you must give me $40 million for my safe space. I can’t believe UCLA is even considering this racially biased list from extortionists. The world is doomed if this racist pandering continues.

  • Kris

    Expulsion and replace.

  • roccolore

    Racist blacks don’t want equality. They want special privileges.

  • roccolore

    Another case of racist blacks demanding special privileges.

  • garyfouse

    The only thing they have a right to demand is a quality education in exchange for their tuition..

  • Robert Jensen

    Go for it, UCLA. Show us your backbone of oatmeal, and cave. Give them all they want. Because, the sooner this cesspool called California goes insolvent, the better. Sometimes you have to kill the patient, in order to save him.

  • samstewart

    If thus puts the people of California one step closer to destruction, then I am all for it….

  • Larry A Singleton

    How about a bus ticket back home.

  • Bill Gundy

    Alicia Frison’s poor grammar (“Berkeley already has a $30 to $40 million endowment even though they have less African American students.”) suggests that she should spend LESS time whining, and more time studying, so that FEWER people will wonder how she got into UCLA in the first place.

  • Squidman

    As a Bruin alum these students are just trying to make sure they grab theirs before guvna Moonbeam doles out the rest to all the illegal immigrant students here who already get free tuition and everything else.

  • Steve Redwine

    Why don’t they do something constructive for their race, and develop one of those, “written language thingy’s”. Every other race has done so, long ago. Blacks have no written language. Hence, not even a f*ckin alphabet. Pathetic.

  • Euro2000

    Students of the Frankfurt School of thought.

    Worth a read!

    The Birth Of Cultural Marxism: How The “Frankfurt School” Changed America