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.
We’re right back into the swing of finals after coming home from Thanksgiving break, and the news cycle hasn’t slowed one bit – just like Bruins’ study grinds. This week, power outages, Purple Line transit service plans and pro-democracy protesters top the Quad’s list for This Week in the News.
Students had to find somewhere else to study for finals after a power outage in the Westwood and Brentwood area affected more than 5,000 residents in the area Wednesday.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokesperson Michael Ventre said the outage originated from a distribution center in the Brentwood area. About 5,700 residents in the two neighborhoods had no power as of 1:50 p.m. yesterday, according to Ventre, but as repairs were made, the number of affected residents went down to 1,276 approximately an hour later.
More than 24 protesters took to the streets of Westwood on Saturday to signify their support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong amid the ongoing conflict.
The protesters were also marching in solidarity for the formal recognition of Taiwan as well as efforts towards democracy in mainland China. Activist group Free China Movement arranged the protest, and protesters carried umbrellas with them, representing the protests underway in Hong Kong.
The protesters in Hong Kong are fighting for five main requests. The requests include repealing the extradition bill, an investigative look into police conduct, re-defining the word “riot” as it is currently associated with the protests, universal suffrage and amnesty for protesters that have been arrested.
Trevor Klein, a founder of the Free China movement and recent high school graduate, visited Hong Kong in October and said he witnessed Hong Kong’s police engaging in unnecessary force against protesters. Xin Li, a computer science student at the Tianjin Brilliance Vocational Secondary School in China also said he was surprised at the police brutality that has been hidden from the people of Beijing.
James Potter, a Chinese immigrant and student leader during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, said the current protests embody the emotion of the protests in Beijing three decades ago. Potter hopes the protesting will prompt China to make reforms.
The Free China movement will hold another protest in Beverly Hills at the Beverly Gardens Park on Sunday, in tune with worldwide Human Rights Day protests.
A report released by the Los Angeles Transportation Metro Authority detailed a number of potential plans to build a transit service running through Los Angeles as a part of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project, and each of the proposed plans includes a station at UCLA.
According to the report, the aim of the project is to solve mobility problems for commutes between the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and LAX. The Purple Line Extension aims to be be completed by 2026.
The report includes four different potential plans for the transit service, each with different trade-offs in capacity, cost and environmental impact. For example, the first plan known as HRT1 would be the fastest option but the most costly. Another option, HRT3, would have a high capacity for carrying passengers, but would be partially above ground and its construction may cause a negative environmental impact.
UCLA Transportation senior associate director David Karwaski said that the university is prioritizing the inclusion of a Westwood connection to help commuting students and employees.
“The connections that this rail line will bring are really beneficial to our region,” he said. “Accessibility to UCLA will be much enhanced.”
Whether or not UCLA ends up seeing a rail station remains to be seen as the decision will be ultimately left to a private developer.
University police are currently searching for a man who allegedly sexually battered a UCLA student Tuesday at around 2:10 a.m. on the Covel Commons steps.
According to the crime alert issued by UCPD, the man approached a student as she was walking up the steps beside Covel Commons and grabbed her buttocks.
The suspect was described as a black man with a thin build about 23 to 28 years with short black braided hair and wearing khaki or gray-colored pants. He was wearing no shirt and had tattoos on his torso.
The man fled in a silver four-door sedan, which was previously incorrectly identified as a Ford Explorer, according to an email statement from UCPD Lt. Kevin Kilgore.
This incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information can contact UCPD at 310-825-1491.