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USAC passes Armenian solidarity resolution urging awareness, support from UCLA

People gather around candles in front of Powell Library. The Undergraduate Students Association Council passed a resolution in support of the Armenians of Artsakh. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

By Mridhula Thyagarajan

April 6, 2023 11:18 p.m.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council unanimously passed a resolution March 14 in solidarity with the Armenians of Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, which implored UCLA to denounce anti-Armenian sentiment and support Armenian students.

The resolution said it was in response to the humanitarian crisis occurring in Artsakh as a result of the Azerbaijani blockade preventing the delivery of essential supplies.

The resolution requests that the UCLA administration officially declare the situation in Artsakh a humanitarian crisis, educate the UCLA community about the blockade of Artsakh and provide mental health resources for Armenian students.

This blockade is the most recent escalation in a long period of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. A more recent example of the violence these tensions have caused was the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

The resolution also calls for UCLA to send an email to the campus and plan a town hall informing students, faculty and staff about the crisis and outlining ways to eliminate anti-Armenian sentiment.

Angela Minasyan, the president of the Armenian Student Association, said she hopes these measures will increase community awareness of the issue.

The resolution asks the university to provide additional counseling services for Armenian students through UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services, in addition to illuminating Royce Hall to display the university’s solidarity with the Armenian community.

[Related: UCLA seeks approval of new guidelines on commemorative lighting requests]

Minasyan, a fourth-year psychobiology student, said ASA initiated the campaign for this resolution because many members have close ties to Artsakh, so the conflicts have had a personal impact.

“I personally lost a godbrother in the midst of everything that was going on in 2020,” Minasyan said. “The blockade … is a further escalation of a humanitarian crisis.”

Despite the passing of the USAC resolution, some Armenian students said the UCLA administration has not expressed the same level of support.

“USAC is great. They have helped, but I feel like, from the chancellors, we’ve had no support whatsoever,” said Mary Keushkerian, the vice president of ASA and a third-year psychobiology student.

Keushkerian added that even a tweet or email from administrators acknowledging the conflict in Armenia would be helpful.

“It seems as though our own institution is not supporting our voices,” Minasyan said.

My-Lan Le, the USAC internal vice president, also said that the administration needs to do more to support the Armenian community on campus.

“There has been a lot of inaction on many issues,” the third-year molecular, cell and developmental biology and political science student said. “It takes a lot of pressure on administration to get them to do things, but I think that this resolution is a great first step, and there’s a lot that still needs to be done.”

The way the UCLA administration responds to this resolution will set a precedent if similar events happen in the future, said Hansika Nath, the USAC international student representative and a second-year business economics and global studies student.

“Some kind of crisis is going to happen at some point again, and I feel like this sets a precedent on a lot of ways for how we’re supposed to handle it,” Nath said.

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Mridhula Thyagarajan
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