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Week four: Blazes around LA, admissions scandal indictment, a more accessible LSAT

(Niveda Tennety/Assistant Photo editor, Liz Ketcham/Photo editor, and Daily Bruin file photo)

By Veronica Fernandez De Soto

Oct. 25, 2019 2:15 p.m.

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.

Bruins, week four’s been a hot one in terms of the news, the weather and midterm season. This is not only a reminder to hydrate, but also to catch you up to speed on everything you need to know about the biggest stories from week four.

Fires coverage

A brush fire broke out Monday in Pacific Palisades, less than 6 miles from campus.

Los Angeles Fire Department officials responded to a wildfire on Monday around 10:40 am. Two hundred homes where then evacuated due to both the heavy smoke and aircrafts flying over the area, according to the LAFD.

The cause of the fire has not been established, but two minor injuries were reported, one involving a firefighter and another a civilian. By 5 p.m., LAFD estimated that the fire had consumed 40 acres of brush.

This event comes less than two weeks after the Saddleridge fire broke out in the San Fernando Valley approximately 15 miles from UCLA, which momentarily threatened the air quality on campus.

Similarly, LAFD stopped a fire in the Sepulveda Basin, 7 miles from campus on Thursday. The fire, which was visible from campus, was fought rapidly and resulted in no injuries, damages or evacuations.

Starbucks coffee served at Anderson Cafe for first time

The Quad previously asked, why don’t we have Starbucks on Campus?

This year, Associated Students UCLA provided an answer with the newly established Anderson Cafe – the first establishment in the history of campus to offer Starbucks coffee.

The term “new” is not so befitting, seeing as Anderson Cafe opened in August, replacing the former Il Tramezzino in Anderson Courtyard. However, due to a lack of advertisement, students are just now realizing the existence of Starbucks Coffee on campus, while many still remain in the dark about its presence.

Even though Anderson Cafe is not a direct Starbucks entity, its recipes, training and offerings will all be provided by the iconic brand of coffee. According to ASUCLA’s director of food operations Cindy Bolton, Starbucks’ notable absence was due to an effort to keep UCLA coffeehouses non-branded with a bohemian feel. However, ASUCLA’s strategy changed in the last couple of years, opening their doors to big coffee chains.

Starbucks now joins Peet’s Coffee and Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea on campus, giving students more options to satisfy their caffeine needs.

Jorge Salcedo charged with fraud and bribery in ongoing admissions scandal

After pleading not guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges in March, former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo has been indicted on additional charges.

Salcedo was one of the many college officials charged in association with Rick Singer’s bribery scheme. Singer would receive money from wealthy families in exchange for altering scores on standardized tests or negotiating their admission into prestigious universities through their athletic programs.

Salcedo allegedly helped admit two students – with no previous experience of playing the sport – into the UCLA soccer program in exchange for briberies amounting to $200,000. Following this reveal March 12, he was placed on leave and later resigned.

It was revealed Oct. 22 by the attorney’s office that Salcedo faces charges for conspiring to commit federal programs bribery, conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiring to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, and also substantive wire and honest services wire fraud.

For these new additional charges Salcedo could be facing up to 20 years in prison for mail and wire fraud and a fine of $250,000, or double the amount received in the criminal activity, and up to five years for federal programs bribery.

LSAT to be made more accessible for visually impaired students after lawsuit

The Law School Admission Council is working on redesigning its analytical reasoning section of the Law School Administration Test in order to make it more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Two visually impaired plaintiffs denounced the LSAT for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects people with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of public life. The plaintiffs argued that due to their disability it was hard to draw the diagrams required for the section, and not waiving it was a sign of discrimination. A settlement was reached between the parties.

Now, the LSAC is researching new ways to evaluate analytical reasoning, a skill which they still believe is important in the legal profession, but which can be measured differently. This effort comes as the organization aims to create a culture around the legal profession that is representative of diversity and inclusive for those with disabilities.

The new measure has prompted different responses. Julianne Ortega, president of the Pre-Law Society at UCLA, said that she is looking forward to seeing this change implemented in the LSAT prep companies as well.

Others, such as Claudia Peña, a UCLA law lecturer, also believes this change is a step in the right direction, because the analytical reasoning section was never a measure of intellectual capacity but instead an indicator of the test-takers’ socio-economic status.

It remains to be seen how the changes in the test will accommodate those with disabilities and if this change will foster a more inclusive legal profession.

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Veronica Fernandez De Soto
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