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Class of 2022 transfer students call on UCLA to guarantee housing for fall

Some students are asking UCLA to provide returning transfer students housing for the 2021-2022 school year. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Jamie Jiang

April 15, 2021 4:38 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Zuleika Bravo is a fourth-year student. In fact, Bravo is a fifth-year student.

This post was updated May 15 at 2:03 p.m.

Pauline Tran said she doesn’t know what to do if she cannot live in university housing for the 2021-2022 school year. Tran, a third-year biology transfer student, thought she was guaranteed a space in university housing next year.

“Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Tran said. “I don’t have the time and luxury to head down there to be looking for the best apartment.”

Some transfer students from the class of 2022 are asking to receive priority housing after they found out UCLA was not prioritizing returning transfers for on-campus housing.

UCLA announced in a campuswide email that it plans to offer some in-person housing in the fall. UCLA said it plans to offer priority housing to incoming freshmen, returning sophomores and incoming first-year transfer students. However, transfers from the class of 2022 were not offered priority housing.

Transfer students submitted a petition, which has gathered more than 1,200 signatures, to UCLA on Monday asking administrators to include current first-year transfer students. Students also attended a town hall meeting Tuesday with a group of housing administrators, where some expressed their frustration and implored administrators to offer housing priority to returning transfer students.

Zuleika Bravo, a fifth-year Latin American studies and political science transfer student and the Undergraduate Students Association Council transfer student representative who sat on a priority housing committee, which gave UCLA recommendations on which groups of students to prioritize, said she advocated for UCLA Housing to prioritize returning transfer students because many of them have not set foot on campus.

The committee also asked that UCLA Housing give returning transfer students priority housing in a final recommendation sent around March 12.

When Chancellor Gene Block announced in a campuswide email that UCLA would prioritize housing for direct-entry second-year students, Bravo said she felt betrayed.

“That just felt like a slap in the face for all returning transfers,” Bravo said. “Really? We’re only here for two years.”

Sarah Dundish, director of housing and planning, said at the town hall the school cannot accommodate all transfer students because UCLA will not be offering triple-occupancy housing in the fall.

Suzanne Seplow, the assistant vice chancellor of student development, told students at the town hall that UCLA Housing was following housing prioritization from before the COVID-19 pandemic, which prioritized direct-entry students over transfer students.

Several students at the meeting said they felt like they were being punished for transferring during a pandemic.

“I’ve been wanting to go to UCLA since I was 16,” said Lauren Thielen, a third-year political science transfer student. “And now that I’m finally here, I feel like I’m not even a Bruin. I feel like I have to beg for an experience that is going to be given to other classes.”

In response to students’ comments at this meeting, Peter Angelis, assistant vice chancellor of Housing & Hospitality Services, said he was moved and expressed sympathy for the transfer student community.

“My heart’s broken too,” Angelis said. “I’m very emotional.”

Angelis said at the town hall that transfer students may receive low-cost dining hall meal tickets for each weekend to try to make up for the lack of priority housing.

“I know this may not mean much to you, but I’m sharing with you the things that I can control, the things that I can do,” Angelis said.

Ayona Hudson, a third-year African American studies and political science transfer student, said the lack of priority given to transfer students represents an equity issue.

“We get called fake Bruins. We go through a lot,” Hudson said. “And I feel like that’s just continued with admin not prioritizing us, but prioritizing other groups of students.”

Motunrayo Ekunboyejo, a third-year political science transfer student, said at the town hall that she was offered housing this year but turned down the offer because UCLA promised transfer students housing for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“I was still reassured that even if you decline (the housing offer), that’s fine because you’re going to get your one year,” Ekunboyejo said.

Ekunboyejo, who is from the Bay Area, said she might not be able to afford to safely live off campus if she were denied housing.

“Housing in LA is really expensive,” Ekunboyejo said. “But I really don’t have a choice, especially if things are going to be somewhat in person next year. I actually have to be out here.”

Several students at the town hall said UCLA Housing told them it planned to guarantee them university housing for the 2021-2022 school year.

Alyssa Hemler, a third-year English transfer student, said at the town hall that priority housing is not just a social issue but a security and basic needs issue for transfer students.

Incoming second-year transfer students will have fewer years of experience with the Westwood area and housing process than direct-entry fourth-year students, Hemler said. She added that this could lead many students to choose apartments that are exploitative or dangerous.

Bravo said transfer students are more likely to be lower-income and are at higher risk of lacking basic needs than direct-entry students. She added that transfer students should receive a stipend to live off campus if the administration will not give them prioritized housing.

Transfer students feel unheard by the university following UCLA’s housing decisions, Bravo said.

“We’re not prioritized. We’re not at the top of the list,” Bravo said. “I just feel like they have to show us that they care because they’re not doing that at the moment.”

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Jamie Jiang | Podcasts producer
Jiang is the 2021-2022 Podcasts producer. Previously, she wrote for the campus politics beat, where she now serves as staffer, covering stories regarding transfer and nontraditional students. She is also a fourth-year linguistics student with a minor in comparative literature.
Jiang is the 2021-2022 Podcasts producer. Previously, she wrote for the campus politics beat, where she now serves as staffer, covering stories regarding transfer and nontraditional students. She is also a fourth-year linguistics student with a minor in comparative literature.
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