Week five: Protests against policing, support for Armenia, campus voting center turnout
(Clockwise from top left: Tanmay Shankar/Daily Bruin senior staff, Daily Bruin file photo, Tanmay Shankar/Daily Bruin senior staff, Kanishka Mehra/Photo editor)
By Cecile Wu
Nov. 6, 2020 5:12 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.
This week, Bruins’ attention has been split between the election and the abundance of activity from students and other Angelenos across the city. From protests to campus revisions to student in-person voting, week five has been a rollercoaster.
Join us as we review the top news stories impacting our community this week.
Activists gathered at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday to criticize UCLA’s inaction when LAPD detained Black Lives Matter protesters at the stadium in June. The activists also protested against UCPD’s campus policing.
LAPD detained dozens of protesters in buses for several hours without food or water during a June 1 protest in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The detained protesters were transported in these buses from protest sites to the parking lot of Jackie Robinson Stadium, which UCLA currently leases from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jodi Scofield, a speaker at Sunday’s gathering and a graduate student who was detained during the previous incident, said UCLA’s response was lacking. Though UCLA administrators have released an apology and said the university would block LAPD from utilizing UCLA property again to process arrests or to use as a staging area, those who were detained were not reached out to individually.
Among the activists at the event was the No UCPD coalition, a student organization that formed in part because of the June 1 incident.
On the topic of abolishing UCPD, speakers condemned the department’s disproportionate arrest of Black individuals.
Many Armenian Americans marched to the Azerbaijani embassy on Wilshire Boulevard to bring attention to the ongoing Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The march followed a weeklong hunger strike organized by the Armenian Youth Federation for the same cause.
The demonstration centered around the Sept. 27 conflict that erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a heavily Armenian-populated enclave located in Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders. It is also known as Artsakh by Armenians.
In the week before the demonstration, hunger strikers were stationed at the Federal Building to display solidarity with Artsakh. After six days, AYF members and hundreds of other protesters marched from the Federal Building site to the Azerbaijani embassy.
The overall goal of the demonstration is to push the United States government to recognize Artsakh and to place sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan, said Hasmik Burushyan, one of the strike’s organizers and a recent UCLA graduate.
In-person voting on campus spiked on Election Day, but unlike the primary elections in March, voters experienced little to no wait times.
Ackerman Student Union and Bradley International Hall functioned as the two voting centers on campus. Doors opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, though those in line at 8 p.m. were still able to vote.
Will Ewing, a poll worker at Ackerman Student Union, said the number of voters Tuesday roughly doubled compared to the previous four days. Mike Sanchez, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Clerk, said in an emailed statement that at least 350 ballots were cast at Ackerman Union that day by 4 p.m.
Jane Clements, a poll worker at Bradley International Hall, said she estimated an even higher increase – triple the amount of voters – compared to what Bradley International Hall saw earlier in the week.
The voting centers implemented public health guidelines to align with COVID-19 protocols. Voters were required to wear face coverings and social distance, while poll workers provided masks, gloves and hand sanitizers for voters and sanitized polling machines in between each use, according to the LA County Clerk website.
Protests erupted across Los Angeles County on Election Day, some for President Donald Trump and others against him.
A Black Lives Matter Los Angeles voting party peacefully assembled at the Staples Center for the majority of the day Tuesday until a group from the Revolutionary Communist Party encouraged the group to move to another rally at Pershing Square around 7 p.m., The Bruin reported.
Pershing Square stood as a site for anti-Trump demonstrators. The gathering was organized by the Los Angeles chapter of Refuse Fascism, an organization founded by the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Later that night, dozens of people were arrested or detained by LAPD.
The same day in Beverly Hills, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in support of Trump.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council and American Indian Student Association now plan to revise a previously passed resolution that called to rename Janss Steps to “Tongva Steps.” The revised resolution calls for a more inclusive name, “Kuruvungna Steps.”
The name “Tongva Steps” was originally chosen as a more well-known name for the Indigenous people who originally inhabited LA and the UCLA land, also known as the Gabrieleño tribe. However, AISA Vice Chair Desirae Barragan said the name “Tongva” does not include all Gabrieleño people.
Additionally, Andrew Salas, the tribal chairman of the Gabrieleño Band of Indians, Kizh Nation, said the name Tongva was made up by academic institutions, meaning a “Tongva Tribe” is nonexistent. Therefore, Salas said the Tongva name is both inaccurate and offensive.
The newly chosen name, Kuruvungna, is a word taken from the original Gabrieleño language and is also the name of the Gabrieleño village that used to inhabit the land that UCLA and Westwood are built on, Barragan said.
The July resolution to rename Janss Steps has been endorsed by USAC and more than 20 other student organizations, but the formal proposal for the UCLA administration is still in its early stages. AISA co-chair Kokonow Kinney said they aim to submit the revised proposal to the UCLA administration by the end of fall quarter.