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Bruin Woods camp shuts down for summer amid sexual assault and hazing lawsuit

Bruinwalk is pictured. Bruin Woods, UCLA’s summer camp under litigation for alleged hazing and sexual assault, will close this year’s operations, preventing alumni and their families from attending. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Shaanth Kodialam

May 12, 2023 4:18 p.m.

This post was updated May 14 at 9:32 p.m.

Bruin Woods, UCLA’s summer camp under litigation for alleged hazing and sexual assault, will close this year’s operations, preventing alumni and their families from attending.

Officials announced the closure May 5 to dozens of families expecting to attend the 10-week camp, according to the Los Angeles Times. Bruin Woods was founded in 1985 to serve UCLA alumni and their families at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge property in the San Bernardino Mountains each summer. Up until last year, around 50 students joined annually as student staffers to help the camp’s summer operations, according to the camp’s website.

The announcement follows an October lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents and other camp counselors at the site filed by two UCLA students – Samea Derrick and Lydia Dixon. The two alleged they experienced sexual assault and hazing as camp counselors at the camp’s Lake Arrowhead location, much of which they said occurred in June. The students also filed complaints with UCLA’s Title IX office.

[Related: UCLA students sue board of regents for alleged sexual abuse as camp counselors]

“We are aware of allegations of inappropriate activity concerning our Bruin Woods program, and continue to look into the matter,” said the camp’s Lake Arrowhead Lodge Team in a recent update on the Bruin Woods website. “We are also making changes in an effort to provide an exceptional experience for everyone.”

Scott Carr, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Derrick and Dixon, said the announcement was a promising decision. The lawsuit also alleged that forced nudity and drinking games have been reported at Bruin Woods for decades. He said he hopes this is a first step in creating more meaningful change to address the dangers of the camp’s culture.

“I’m certainly happy that at least at this point, they’ve suspended operations so that they’re not putting other counselors and other students in harm’s way while they figure out what they need to do,” Carr said. “That’s a positive first step with hopefully other changes to come.”

The UC Board of Regents has denied both the allegations and liability for damages, alleging that it took action to address the students’ concerns, according to court documents obtained by the LA Times. Attorneys for the UC told the LA Times that there were administrative and internal grievance procedures available to Dixon and Derrick.

UCLA spokesperson Margery Grey said in a written statement that Bruin Woods’ counselor program has now transitioned to new management under Student Affairs. Grey declined to confirm future plans with the Lake Arrowhead venue, but said families have received refunds and rebooking options for attending summer activities at the site this year with no Bruin Woods programming.

The case is set to begin trial Feb. 8.

Contributing reports from Dylan Winward, Daily Bruin contributor.

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Shaanth Kodialam | News senior staff
Kodialam is a News senior staff reporter for the Bruin. They were previously the 2022-2023 features and student life editor and a 2021-2022 News reporter for national news and higher education and features and student life. They are a third-year communication and geography student.
Kodialam is a News senior staff reporter for the Bruin. They were previously the 2022-2023 features and student life editor and a 2021-2022 News reporter for national news and higher education and features and student life. They are a third-year communication and geography student.
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