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This Year

(Designed by Lindsey Murto/Design director)

By Olivia Miller, Sharla Steinman, Aidan Teeger, Talia Sajor, and Jack Nelson

June 11, 2024 6:15 p.m.

A recap of events from the 2023-2024 school year including the political demonstrations, departure of Chip Kelly, cancellation of Spring Sing and upcoming national election with Podcasts contributor Olivia Miller, City and Crime editor Sharla Steinman, Sports staff writer Jack Nelson, Arts editor Talia Sajor and Podcasts contributor Aidan Teeger.

 

Olivia Miller: You are listening to This Year by Daily Bruin Podcasts. This year is our special grad issue edition of This Week. Today, instead of highlighting stories from around the world and across the country from this past week, we are going to highlight the biggest Daily Bruin stories from this past school year. We’ll start with the News section, then move to Sports and then Arts, and we’ll wrap up with the biggest stories of the school year from outside of campus. My name is Olivia Miller, and thank you for tuning in.

Sharla Steinman: I’m Sharla Steinman, the city and crime editor.

Jack Nelson: I’m Jack Nelson, a Sports senior staff writer on the football, men’s basketball and women’s tennis beats.

Talia Sajor: Hi, I’m Talia Sajor, and I’m the Arts editor.

Aidan Teeger: Hi, I’m Aidan Teeger. I’m a Podcasts contributor.

OM: So before we get into the episode, what was your favorite story to cover this year?

SS: Well, thanks for asking, Olivia. I wouldn’t say this was my favorite story, but it was definitely the most memorable. I think all of our encampment coverage throughout the past month or so just made me feel like a real journalist, and it kind of showed me again why my work is important and why I want to keep doing journalism.

JN: For me, it was when Novak Djokovic, who is No. 1 men’s tennis player in the country – the world, actually – came to the Los Angeles Tennis Center in preparation for the Indian Wells tournament this past March. I actually got a tip that he was going to be practicing that day in the middle of class. And so I sprinted out of class to the tennis center, got good front row seats, got to talk with the tennis coaches from UCLA – Stella Sampras-Webster, Billy Martin – about just the experience of Novak coming by and just the legacy of tennis players that have come there over the years in preparation for pro tournaments. That was a pretty awesome experience for a notebook on that.

TS: I wouldn’t say I had a favorite story in particular, but this past winter, I got to go to The Sundance Film Festival located in Park City, Utah, and I got to attend so many cool red carpet events, Q&As with other filmmakers and actors, and it was just such a cool experience to get that hands-on event coverage.

AT: I wasn’t involved in covering any stories or contemporary events, but I conducted a number of super interesting interviews with a lot of incredible UCLA alumni. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but as an avid beer enjoyer and self-assumed connoisseur, talking to Brent Knapp, owner and founder of Common Space Brewing company in LA was very interesting.

OM: Sweet. Thanks everyone for sharing. All right, let’s start with Sharla and the Daily Bruin News section. Sharla, what is the top story from this year that the News team covered?

SS: So to begin, all of these events stem from the Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas. The Associated Press reported that around 1200 people were killed in the attack and 250 were taken hostage. A couple hundred people gathered in Bruin Plaza Oct. 12 during a walkout to demonstrate in support of Palestine. The walkout was organized by over 10 student groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA and UC Divest Coalition at UCLA. On Nov. 7, around 200 people gathered in Wilson Plaza to call for the release of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas. The event was organized by Bruins for Israel, Hillel at UCLA and Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles. It featured speakers, prayers, the singing of Israel’s national anthem and a march around campus. Protests continued on campus in response to the Israel-Hamas war. The Palestine solidarity encampment, organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, then started April 25 outside of Royce Hall. Over the course of the encampment, multiple rallies were held, including by groups like the Palestine Youth Movement, the Israeli-American Council and Standing Together LA. Then on April 30, the encampment was attacked by counter-protesters using fireworks, tear gas and their fists. Chancellor Gene Block released a statement labeling the encampment as unlawful, threatening participants with academic consequences. Early on May 2, police officers breached the Palestine solidarity encampment, following three dispersal orders that were given to protesters. Officers then set off what were believed to be flashbang devices before breaching the encampment and firing rubber bullets at protesters. Block confirmed that more than 200 people were arrested with more than 300 leaving voluntarily following a police sweep of the encampment. Members of United Auto Workers 4811 then voted May 13 through the 15 to authorize a strike. On May 23, UCLA was called by UAW to begin striking May 28. Block was also called before the House Education and the Workforce Committee to speak about antisemitism and his administration’s handling of recent protests, which took place on May 23. Later that day, an encampment was set up on Kerckhoff patio. The encampment was swept by officers around 1 p.m., and protesters marched towards Murphy Hall and eventually occupied Dodd Hall. Protesters were removed from Dodd by police around 5:30. And at the time of this recording, that brings us up to date.

OM: Thank you for those updates, Sharla. Next, I am here with Jack. What was the biggest story in sports this year?

JN: So on February 9, Coach Chip Kelly departed UCLA football to become the next offensive coordinator at Ohio State, leaving the Bruins with a head coaching vacancy as they entered the Big Ten conference this summer. Now, Kelly had led the Bruins for six years. He was really a major figure in UCLA athletics, considered a big name hire really following his days coaching Oregon to the Rose Bowl national championship appearances. In his time with UCLA was 35 and 34 overall. On this past season, four and five in the Pac-12, eight and five total, including a win in the LA Bowl, which actually was the first bowl win for the program since 2015. And he was also the subject of a lot of fans’ scrutiny. And he was kind of criticized as hesitant to embrace recruiting name, image and likeness. Overall, he was eight and 28 against teams that finished with a winning record in his six years here. And previously, he had signed a contract extension with UCLA in last March that would have kept him with the program through the 2027 season.

OM: And what are we to expect from a new coach?

JN: So, Deshaun Foster is the man of the future for UCLA. He was hired February 12. He’s actually a longtime Bruin, and he served as the running backs coach here from 2017 to 2023, as well as associate head coach in the final year. And he was a running back himself for the program from 1998 to 2001, en route to becoming a UCLA Athletics hall of famer in 2022. He created this acronym for his coaching philosophy here. He calls it DRE: discipline, respect, enthusiasm. And the message is really resonated by his staff, his players. He quickly embraced NIL-based recruiting, has shown a passion since his introductory press conference that I was able to attend in person. And he’s really already set a new tone for this program heading into the future.

OM: Thank you, Jack. Now we are moving on to Arts. Talia, what is the top Arts story of the year?

TS: Yeah, so our top art story pertains to our annual Spring Sing competition. So originally meant to take place on May 17. Our annual event was canceled due to law enforcement safety concerns. So Spring Sing is an annual competition organized by the Student Alumni Association, which was slated to take place at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. In a statement obtained by The Bruin on May 9, the event was ultimately forced to be canceled by organizers after law enforcement raised concerns following the attack and forceful police sweep of the Palestine solidarity encampment.

OM: Have they made an alternative event?

TS: Yeah, so they’ve decided to switch to an online event. A few days ago, they’ve actually compiled a video including all the 13 planned acts and their performances on YouTube.

OM: Thank you so much for joining us, Talia. Thank you, Olivia. Now we will turn to Aidan for the biggest national stories of the year.

AT: The top national story surrounds the 2024 election, which is being held this November, with political parties and presidential candidates well in the midst of their campaigns. The presidential primaries began in 2023. On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump faced off against Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, among others, ultimately defeating all of them despite not attending the Republican primary debates. President Biden was largely unchallenged and will remain his party’s nominee. Robert Kennedy Jr. Is running as an independent and is garnering unusually high support for a third-party candidate. The campaign is sure to heat up this summer as election day approaches.

OM: Thank you, Aidan. Thanks for listening to This Year by the Daily Bruin Podcasts. Daily Bruin Podcasts will return next year with more updates.

 

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Olivia Miller | Podcasts producer
Miller is the 2024-2025 Podcasts producer. She was previously a 2023-2024 contributor to the Podcasts section. Miller is a fourth-year communication and sociology student from San Diego.
Miller is the 2024-2025 Podcasts producer. She was previously a 2023-2024 contributor to the Podcasts section. Miller is a fourth-year communication and sociology student from San Diego.
Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Talia Sajor | Arts editor
Sajor was the 2023-2024 Arts editor. She previously served as the 2022-2023 Theater | film | television editor and a Photo, Opinion and PRIME contributor. She is also a fourth-year communication student from Oxnard, California.
Sajor was the 2023-2024 Arts editor. She previously served as the 2022-2023 Theater | film | television editor and a Photo, Opinion and PRIME contributor. She is also a fourth-year communication student from Oxnard, California.
Jack Nelson | Sports senior staff
Nelson is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats and a contributor on the men's tennis and women's tennis beats.
Nelson is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats and a contributor on the men's tennis and women's tennis beats.
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