Thursday, May 28

Week five: Hill programming, UCLA Lab School transparency, affordable housing controversy

(Courtney Fortier/Daily Bruin)

This Week in the News serves as The Quad’s space for reflection on current events at and around UCLA. Every week, Daily Bruin staffers will analyze some of the most significant stories to keep readers up to speed.

It’s the end of the fifth week and students are focused more on midterms than anything else. This week also calls our attention to an array of other things, such as the appointment of a new dean of the music school and a housing controversy still rampant.

RAs, programming offices comment on scarce student turnout at Hill events

(Kanishka Mehra/Daily Bruin)

Both resident assistants and the UCLA Resource Scholarship Center struggle to keep Hill residents engaged in programming amidst their busy schedules. While attendance fluctuates depending on the nature of the event and the population of the floor, RAs find that they see the same group of students at many of the events that they plan.

With a quarterly budget of $150, RAs have some flexibility to plan events of varying magnitudes, ranging from karaoke nights to gingerbread house making. Students say they prefer to attend events where they know that they’ll see their friends.

The UCLA Scholarship Resource Center commented specifically on students’ failure to commit to previously scheduled appointments. Despite advertising efforts and a partnership with Residential Life, the center continues to struggle to attract more students.

If the student population remains disinterested in residential events, perhaps the efforts and funds dedicated to executing them would be better utilized elsewhere.

Ongoing lack of transparency at UCLA Lab School leaves parents concerned, frustrated

After the UCLA Lab School, which enrolls students from pre-K through sixth grade, placed a math teacher of 18 years on administrative leave twice in the past year without explanation, parents are demanding answers.

Kevin North, the teacher who was placed on leave, was not the first faculty member to be suspiciously suspended and now parents are concerned about the stability of their children’s education. Some had to hire private tutors or enroll their kids in math enrichment programs to make up for North’s unexplained absence.

Parents say the school’s administration made no effort to consult them prior to the decision, but if they had, they would have heard only positive things about both expelled faculty members. North himself only discovered that both allegations against him were due to classroom misconduct Monday, four months after he was first placed on leave.

Because the school’s actions do not align with the parents’ perceptions of those put on leave, they are left questioning the school’s motives. Furthermore, they feel they have a right to transparency, especially when it comes to their children’s safety and education.

In a letter to the Daily Bruin, Georgia Ann Lazo, the principal of the school, clarified that she personally notified the teachers of the reasons behind the decision to put them on leave and has communicated weekly with the parents whose children are affected.

Above all, Lazo prioritizes the privacy rights of her employees and students, which might suggest that some have misinterpreted prudence as a lack of transparency.


Westwood Forward endorses The Agora citing potential as affordable student housing

It has been three months since The Agora, an affordable housing project, was first proposed and the debate surrounding it is still as contentious as ever.

On a meeting Jan. 31, both the UCLA Graduate Students Association and the Westwood Forward’s student leadership committee voted in support of the project, while the the Holmby Westwood Property Owners Association opposed it. Recommendations from the city attorney’s office will repeal the vote.

The controversy is not entirely uncalled for since some believe that The Agora isn’t carrying out its original mission with integrity. Project planners seem to be using the term “affordability” very loosely – residence in a triple-occupancy dorm with a 14P meal plan is only $200 more than residence at The Agora. Furthermore, construction of The Agora requires the destruction of PodShare, an affordable housing community that rents out beds for $840 per month.

LAFD reports now-cleared chemical explosion at Boyer Hall, 1 minor injury

An acetone explosion in a South Campus laboratory injured one UCLA employee Tuesday afternoon. The employee only suffered superficial injuries and the LAFD and UCPD were able to clear the incident quickly.

Interestingly, exactly a year before this chemical explosion, fire alarms rang throughout Ackerman Union after a chemical smell originating from the Engineering V building filled the air. Students were evacuated but the smell turned out to be nontoxic.

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