UCLA community members stage sit-in to demand hybrid learning options
Students and other members of the UCLA community staged an indefinite sit-in protest Monday in Murphy Hall, demanding a meeting with administrators regarding remote learning options as UCLA returns to in-person learning. (Justin Jung/Daily Bruin senior staff)
This post was updated Feb. 1 at 6:17 p.m.
Dozens of UCLA students and community members staged a sit-in protest on Monday in front of Chancellor Gene Block’s office in Murphy Hall.
The protest – which was co-organized by the Disabled Student Union, the Mother Organizations coalition and the Undergraduate Students Association Council – began with a strike in Bruin Plaza. Demonstrators formed a picket line in front of Bruin Walk around 10 a.m. and marched to Murphy Hall around noon for a sit-in co-organized by the DSU and the Afrikan Student Union.
The organizations demanded UCLA to provide remote-learning options for all classes because of the risks of COVID-19 faced by students, especially students of color and students with disabilities. DSU co-founder Quinn O’Connor added that it is dangerous for students living with disabled or immunocompromised family members to attend class in person, especially amid a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.
Afrikan Student Union Chairperson Samone Anderson said COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the Black, Latinx, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and it is unacceptable that UCLA has refused to provide a remote option.
“This isn’t just a disabled student issue; it’s a student-retention issue across the board,” O’Connor said. “It also harms staff, faculty – and by extension – the entire Los Angeles community.”
Anderson said the group decided to extend their sit-in indefinitely until UCLA administrators met with them to consider extending remote-learning options. She added that the UCLA administrators they hoped to meet with, including Block, were not present in their Murphy Hall offices as of 3:20 p.m. Monday.
Suzanne Seplow, the assistant vice chancellor for student development, told individuals at the sit-in around 3 p.m. Monday that they would try to arrange a meeting to discuss their demands, but no details had been set, O’Connor said.
Around 4 p.m. Monday, Seplow and UCLA Student Affairs representatives told the protest organizers that Academic Senate leadership and Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck offered to meet with them. The proposed meeting did not include Block.
Monday evening, leaders from the DSU, ASU and USAC met with Beck and Chair of Academic Senate Jody Kreiman to discuss their demands. They will meet with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden on Thursday and will continue to sit in until then, as they were not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.
“We’re in communication with the students and there have been no incidents to report,” UCLA spokesperson Bill Kisliuk said in an emailed statement.
Demonstrators remained at the Murphy Hall sit-in as of Tuesday afternoon.
This is a developing story and will be updated.