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UCLA seeks approval of new guidelines on commemorative lighting requests

(Daily Bruin file photo)

By Alexandra Kaiser

Sept. 29, 2022 10:50 p.m.

UCLA is calling for community members to review its new policy allowing for requests for commemorative lightings of Royce Hall and Powell Library, according to a campuswide announcement sent Sept. 7.

The policy establishes guidelines for submitting a request for a commemorative lighting event and requirements for approval, according to the policy draft released for public review. Lightings must not interfere with previously scheduled events or university functions, and they cannot violate safety protocols or the values and policies of the university, according to the draft.

Any university department or division, the Academic Senate and registered organizations on campus can make a request to the lighting committee, who will approve or deny the request, according to the draft. The draft also said the committee will be composed of relevant administration appointees and students appointed by the Undergraduate Students Association Council and Graduate Students Association.

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications Mary Osako will make a final approval or denial based on the lighting committee’s recommendation, the draft also said.

This is the university’s first policy for requests for commemorative lightings, resulting from an increased popularization of lightings for significant causes or moments, UCLA spokesperson Bill Kisliuk said in an emailed statement. Kisliuk added that the publicized draft is open for community review until Oct. 7.

Student organizations are looking forward to having the opportunity to commemorate important and impactful events and anniversaries.

The Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA wrote a letter to Chancellor Gene Block, staff and administrators in April asking for a commemorative lighting in recognition of the Armenian genocide, said Angela Minasyan, the president of the ASA and a fourth-year psychobiology student. However, the university told them commemorative lightings in recognition of political or international events were against traditional policy, said Mher Arutyunyan, the ASA political affairs committee chair.

“We felt that that was an inadequate, and, quite frankly, arbitrary justification for not allowing the commemoration of the Armenian genocide via the lighting of Royce,” Arutyunyan said.

The ASA looks forward to the opportunity to request a commemorative lighting this year in memory of Armenian genocide survivors, said Minasyan.

Eliana Sisman, a member of the Disabled Student Union and a USAC general representative, said she hopes the new policy will help the campus be more representative of the UCLA community.

“It’s more of an opportunity to be heard by the administrators because they’ll actually be looking over what we have to say and at least thinking about it,” she said.

The new policy is important because the symbolism of commemorative lightings shows the university’s support for and recognition of students on campus, Minasyan said. This policy will help students feel heard, she added.

“We think that this is just a huge and powerful way to recognize it (the Armenian genocide) in a very heartfelt way where students feel connected to their campus even more, and they feel understood by their faculty and the administrators at UCLA,” Minasyan said.

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Alexandra Kaiser | Campus politics editor
Kaiser is the 2022-2023 campus politics editor. She was previously a News reporter and Opinion columnist. She is also a third-year communication and political science student.
Kaiser is the 2022-2023 campus politics editor. She was previously a News reporter and Opinion columnist. She is also a third-year communication and political science student.
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