In the midst of the current militarization of downtown Los Angeles as a supposed "protective" measure for the DNC, many may be unaware of the hundreds of California Highway Patrol officers that are being housed in the Sunset Village dormitories at UCLA. Since last Thursday, several agencies of the CHP have converged at UCLA, presumably as a back-up to the LAPD. This may stem from the fact that UCLA is an institution of the state, just like the CHP, in addition to the close proximity of the Westwood Federal Building. Although the Daily Bruin did make mention of the officers' arrival in a front column in last
Monday's paper, there was no mention of who were the specific administrative powers to give consent to what has become an annoying intrusion into UCLA's liberal academic environment.
Currently, the UCLA dorms are home to several new students participating in the Freshman and Transfer Summer Programs, which facilitate the transition of low income and underrepresented high school and community college students to the campus' environment and academic rigors. As of today, there have already been complaints of harassment of students by officers, particularly towards African Americans,
including a student tutor, as well as towards female students in general. This past weekend, three
students were pulled over directly outside the dorms, wherein they were searched and interrogated as
to why they were there. When one student asked why they were being harassed, one officer allegedly threatened to throw her in jail. Several co-eds have also complained of being sexually harassed by
uniformed and plain-clothes officers while simply hanging out around the dormitory area.
Students are already under pressure to perform well in the intensive and competitive summer programs, and now they have to endure further stress from the unsolicited attention of state patrol officers. In a nutshell, the open free space for intellectual and personal growth at UCLA has been corrupted. This is the way in which students are being introduced to a supposedly elite institution of academia, and it beckons one to ask as to whether the same action would have been done at Harvard or even USC. Those in the administration, including the Chancellor's office, should be held accountable for this disruption of learning.