Arrests Made in UCLA Admissions Office Protest

About 40 people gathered to “occupy” the office, witnesses say

A demonstration at the UCLA admissions office demanding the university double its minority student population and take another look at four Latino and black students who were rejected from the university ended in 13 arrests, according to campus police.

About 40 people, including high school and college students, gathered to “occupy” the office around 3:30 p.m., said Ronald Cruz, an attorney with By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) who was at the protest.

Arrests came after police announced a disperal order around 6 p.m., hours into the demonstration, Cruz said.

UCLA's website describes the university as "one of the world's most ethnically and culturally diverse communities."

Of the school's more than 27,000 undergraduates, nearly 37 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, and white, non-Hispanic students make up 31.2 percent of the student body, according to UCLA's enrollment report for the Fall 2011 quarter.

The report lists the percentage of represented ethnicities on campus:

  • Hispanic students: 16.55
  • International students: 7.40
  • Black, Non-Hispanic students: 4.04
  • Unstated, unknown or other: 3.72
  • American Indian or Alaska Native students: 0.53

The group took issue with those figures, and gathered Friday with three demands. Cruz listed them in an email statement:

  • Double Latina/o, black and other underrepresented minority student enrollment
  • Admit more Latina/o, black, and other underrepresented minority students including some of the students we are submitting.
  • Reopen the Appeals process to allow the more than deserving Latina/o, black, Native American and other underrepresented minority who have been denied once or twice already the chance to be reconsidered.

Dozens of demonstrators staged their occupation inside the admissions office, where they carried banners and signs, chanting, "Educate, don't segregate."

"This is not a protest against you personally, you can't take the day off, take an early weekend," one protester said to a group of people behind the admissions office counter.

Demonstrators cited the cases of four students who are appealing their rejections from the university.

Miguel Gil, a Napa Valley High School student with a 4.3 weighted GPA, was rejected by UCLA and twice by UC Berkeley, BAMN said. Gil is the son of Mexican immigrants and English is his second language.

Another student, Qui’Chi (Raul) Martinez, was rejected by UCLA. Martinez, BAMN said, is a “Chicano transfer student with Indigenous heritage” who has been homeless for years.

UCLA student Margarita Gamino said she participated in the protest to represent “thousands of Latino, black, and other underrepresented minority students who fight every day for their education.”

“The millions of Latinos and immigrants who are the backbone this city and of California and their sons and daughters like me deserve to get the best public university education in this state,” Gamino said in a statement.

Friday’s demonstration is the latest for BAMN, which held “occupations” at UC Berkeley’s registrar and admissions offices on April 6 and May 11 respectively.

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