A photo of the mural displayed in the Black Bruin Resource Center. The mural depicts various Black historical figures and athletes surrounding a wooden table

Afrikan Student Union Fights for Liveable Space on Campus

The same administrators that are allowing Antonio Sandoval to create an inhabitable and hostile environment for black employees/other people of color are simultaneously dragging their feet on approving an order that would allow for a safer environment to maintain ASU projects in. ASU Chairperson Samone Anderson has detailed two separate events where Chancellor Block has cancelled or pushed back discussion with student leaders at the last minute, in what Anderson describes as a “stall tactic.”  Despite Chancellor Block’s cheerful Rising to The Challenge address promising “access to and collaboration with faculty” as well as consistent engagement with student leaders, he has remained immovable in his plans for what he considers to be the best way to foster a better environment for the Black population on campus, despite criticisms. Anderson further states “Black women have been made to be uncomfortable in the contentious environment fostered by CPO administrative staff members [as a result of him not allowing them to be rehoused].” ASU Staff have felt there to be little urgency by UCLA Admin on follow-through for initial promises on re-housing ASU projects, and worry that the dimming political climate of last year may result in further stalling.

 The work done to increase Black resources and retention has required years of advocacy behind the scenes from various student leaders and committees, with our biggest champions coming from our own Afrikaan Student Union. The Black Bruin Resource Center was meant to be a major win for ASU and UCLA’s Black students. The community hub was meant to create space for Black students to comfortably engage with the community and receive specialized services that reflect the unique challenge of operating in higher education as a minority student. The center represents a collective effort from current and past Black Bruins to establish a hub that organizations like Student Heightening Academic Success (SHAPE), Afrikan Education Project (AEP) and Academic Success Program (ASP) can comfortably operate out of. However, since it’s induction, the space is underutilized and underfunded. Out of the BBRC’s $200,000 dollar budget, only $15,000 is available to students for project fees. The remaining $200,000 dollars is shelled out for administrative salaries and exorbitant rent costs. The BBRC also operates without a formal budget, and student coordinators are already facing transparency issues similar to what the CRC and SIOC are fighting under CPO. The dependability that UCLA strives to provide for its student body has long wavered, in what is steadily becoming a pattern of undermining the leadership and advocacy of the ASU and and the exploitation of Black employees, affecting ASU’s ability to provide retention and access resources to students.