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Transfer student leaders continue to call for guaranteed university housing

Transfer students are continuing to advocate for university housing while exploring off-campus options. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

By Jamie Jiang

May 13, 2021 12:59 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 2:01 p.m.

Undergraduate student body leaders are calling for improved access to housing for all transfer students, some of whom were excluded from priority access to on-campus housing.

UCLA announced April 2 in a campuswide email that priority would be offered to sophomores, new transfer students and other groups, excluding returning transfer students from the priority groups.

“Housing priority is not finalized,” UCLA Housing said in an April 27 emailed statement. “The University however, continues to be optimistic that through positive trends of fighting the pandemic and mitigations put into place–UCLA will be allowed to increase inventory to include triples.”

Los Angeles County may allow universities to increase the number of students allowed to live on campus if all students living in double- and triple-occupancy rooms are fully vaccinated according to the May 10 protocol update from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The university may reverse its decision and offer returning transfer students priority housing if UCLA is allowed to house students in triple-occupancy rooms, UCLA spokesperson Katherine Alvarado said in an emailed statement.

In response, the transfer student community launched a campaign in April to demand one year of on-campus housing for returning transfer students.

[Related link: Class of 2022 transfer students call on UCLA to guarantee housing for fall]

The outgoing Undergraduate Students Association Council Transfer Student Representative Zuleika Bravo and outgoing Transfer Leadership Coalition co-Chair Bradley Alvaradocreated an email template in support of transfer housing for students to copy and send to UCLA.

“Quite honestly, the conditional offer of transfer housing upon the availability of triples is incredibly insulting, to say the least,” the email template reads. “The suggestion continues to prove that our community is not a priority and will always be an afterthought to the administration.”

Bravo, a fifth-year Latin American studies and political science student, said she is working with UCLA Housing to aid transfer students in securing off-campus housing next year. She is also asking the UCLA administration to negotiate a deal with Westwood landlords to forgo credit checks for renting apartments and make the renter application process easier.

Bravo also plans to launch a campaign called Bruins Supporting Bruins, which would encourage a partnership between the transfer student representative office and the student-run platform Bruinshack, which connects UCLA students searching for housing with those seeking to pass on their lease agreements.

Such a partnership would improve housing security for transfer students because graduating students often pass leases down to students they already know, Bravo said. This sometimes excludes current transfer students who have not yet met peers on campus, she added.

Natalie Zadikian, a transfer student and third-year psychology student, said she wants to live in university apartments next year because they are the most financially feasible option for her. University apartments are subsidized and reserved for undergraduate students, including incoming transfers. University apartments are owned and operated by UCLA but are located off campus in Westwood.

Zadikian said she submitted her housing application as soon as possible but is continuing to look for housing with a fellow Bruin.

“Obviously, it’s not the Westwood landlords’ fault of what’s going on in the situation, so it’s not like they’re obligated to do that,” Zadikian said. “But it’s very cool that that’s a possibility here that the landlords could, you know, help us out, make things cheaper, make things maybe easier to look for.”

Sherwin Ghandi, a transfer student and a third-year pre-psychobiology student, is currently looking for off-campus housing with a group of transfer students.

Ghandi said it would help if UCLA offered more guidance to transfer students because most transfer students do not have prior experience on campus.

Bravo said she will continue to work toward a deal with Westwood landlords and advocate to the UCLA administration.

“The administration believes that it’s OK now that it’s kind of died down, and I have to continue to remind them that they’re going to leave a lot of transfers unhoused – they’re going to put a lot of transfers’ safety at risk,” Bravo said.

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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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