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USAC Elections 2024SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLA

Students for Justice in Palestine express event-planning struggles with UCLA admin

Murphy Hall is pictured. Student organizers from Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA expressed discontent about their recent communication with campus administrators. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Dylan Winward and Catherine Hamilton

Jan. 16, 2024 1:10 a.m.

Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA expressed discontent regarding recent difficulties communicating with administration officials and planning events.

Mohammad, a spokesperson for SJP at UCLA who has been granted partial anonymity for safety reasons, said he does not feel that his organization has been treated fairly by UCLA’s Student Organizations, Leadership and Engagement office. Mohammad added that other organizations they are a part of have not had the same difficulties booking spaces for their events.

According to an Oct. 19 email from a leader of SJP to Kristopher Kaupalolo, the organization’s SOLE advisor, the student organization had difficulty securing their weekly scheduled meeting room.

“Last night, our weekly meeting room at Dodd Hall Room 167 seemed like it hadn’t been processed since another organization took over the classroom, even though it says on my dashboard that it is confirmed,” the email said.

SJP has also had disagreements with SOLE about the scheduling of rally events.

According to an email from Kaupalolo on Oct. 31, SOLE refused to approve a recent SJP skateboard-themed event because of concerns about the location. Kaupalolo said in the email that the event could not happen in Bruin Plaza because it is a no-wheels zone and would need differing insurance requirements.

According to the UCLA Transportation website, users of skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles and scooters must dismount when traveling through Bruin Plaza or Bruin Walk.

However, Mohammad said he felt the reasons for not allowing the rally were hypocritical since he feels UCLA does not enforce the no-wheels zone in Bruin Plaza. They added that the university alerted them of the issues with the rally the day it was supposed to happen despite SJP having notified administration about it two weeks in advance, causing SJP to postpone the event.

Mohammad said UCLA sometimes takes up to three weeks to respond, adding that the university also did not speak to SJP before issuing official statements about alleged misconduct at rallies. For example, a campuswide email from Chancellor Gene Block on Nov. 10 seemed to suggest that students at a protest in support of Palestine were inciting violence, Mohammad said.

“We’ve never had the chancellor reach out to us specifically, corroborate or confirm any of the claims that he’s made,” Mohammad said.

Mohammad also said he hopes SJP will get the opportunity to speak to administration officials, including Block, an opportunity that he said other organizations have received.

However, UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said in an emailed statement that campus administrators have previously met with SJP, adding that Assistant Vice Chancellor Mick Deluca held a meeting with SJP during the fall quarter and requested another for winter quarter.

Additionally, Vazquez said Block has hosted meetings with Muslim and Jewish students.

According to an email obtained by the Daily Bruin, Deluca promised Jewish student leaders on Oct. 8 that he would try to schedule a vice chancellor-level meeting within a few days of it being requested.

Mohammad also said they felt the administration’s response to SJP showed a lack of respect for students on campus.

“That kind of behavior is so not indicative of someone who would genuinely be concerned for the well-being and safety of the students on campus,” he said.

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Dylan Winward | Features and student life editor
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
Catherine Hamilton | News editor
Hamilton is the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor. She is also a third-year gender studies and political science student minoring in professional writing.
Hamilton is the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor. She is also a third-year gender studies and political science student minoring in professional writing.
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