Hail to the Hills of Westwood

roycehall.jpg I’ve been spending a lot of time at UCLA lately and getting that giddy UCLA pride I tend to get towards the start of the fall quarter. This year it’s accentuated because of my role as a leader in the graduate student government. I’ve been meeting all kinds of new students and listening to welcome speeches by chancellors, vice chancellors, directors of different student affairs divisions, and other student leaders.

Although I have my gripes (parking, rapidly increasing costs, and number of underrepresented minorities), I am generally pretty satisfied with my experience at UCLA.

Some quick facts about the best higher education institution in Los Angeles. (Yeah, I know I’m biased).

  • US News & World Report ranks UCLA #25 (tied with U of Michigan, Ann Arbor) among national universities. The graduate school of education ranks second only to Harvard.
  • UCLA was named “best hospital in the West” in this year’s US News & World Report rankings
  • More high school seniors apply to UCLA (43,197) than any other US university. Total enrollment is about 25,000 undergrads and 11,000 graduate students.
  • UCLA is now primarily a residential institution; 92% of freshman and 70% of sophomores live on campus.
  • Our football and basketball teams may not be winning championships currently, but UCLA still has more NCAA team championships (97) than any other school.
  • UCLA is the 10th-largest employer in the greater LA region.
  • One-third of undergraduates participate in community-service activities.
  • As of June 30, 2005 fundraisers had raised $2.8 billion for Campaign UCLA, the largest public-university campaign.
  • The school was founded in 1919, and moved to Westwood in 1929.

For my fellow Bruins out there, hope you have a good fall quarter (or semester for law/medicine students).

11 Replies to “Hail to the Hills of Westwood”

  1. As an employer, UCLA/UC sucks. I you’ll get defensive, but look into it. They haven’t given cost of living raises for 2 or 3 years (or any sort of merit raises for that matter), their employees earn well below average of what their peers in comparable jobs at other institutions make (search the Daily Bruin for a recent article on how if 2 spouses work at UCLA, they can’t afford to buy a home much less care for a family. Why do you think they’re picking left and right on that campus? UCLA is probably the worst of the UCs, and can’t retain employees because of their low salaries, union policies and shitty treatment of employees.

  2. Mark,
    I know one person’s experience is just anecdotal, but I’ve also been a full-time employee at UCLA as well as a student. My experience was quite positive and I did not leave my position because of the pay, union policies or shitty treatment. I should say that while I was in my position, I had the opportunity to vote on whether I did or did not want to be part of a union. The employees chose not to unionize. I’m not saying UCLA is the greatest employer and am well aware of labor issues on campus.

    I searched the Bruin for such an article and did not find much. If I was married to someone making the same amount as I was, we would be able to support ourselves and a child. However, buying a home for most people in LA (whether or not they work at UCLA) is extremely difficult.

    I have gripes about the school just as you do. Thanks for offering up your opinion.

  3. Hey Benjamin, those are fightin’ words!

    As a proud alum of KLA, I point you to UCLA radio’s home on the web: uclaradio.com

    And yes, you can listen live online.

    P.S.-All hail DJ Riley!

  4. I have a friend who DJ’d for KLA back in the early 90s. I couldn’t believe that such a large school didn’t have broadcast radio. Oh well, I’d rather listen to KUSC anyway. :)

  5. Great post–It definitely sparked a significant amount of nostalgia within me.

    I couldn’t help but smile after seeing a bunch of UCLA students waiting for the campus bus to pick them up this morning on my way to work. The school year has started once again, and for the first time in a long time, I won’t be sitting in class today.

    Enjoy the (sometimes masochistic) UCLA experience while it lasts.

  6. No, no! I don’t want to go back (sadly, I’m already here)! I was enjoying my short vacation away from school.

  7. Sniff Sniff.

    I wish i was sitting in class today and buying books and getting in the study mood. I miss that so much, and its only been 3 months! UGH. What am i going to do now that i don’t have school in my life?! Enjoy being a ucla student for me, Cindy.

  8. By Heather Rabkin
    DAILY BRUIN CONTRIBUTOR

    A report released Tuesday by the National Economic Development and Law Center found that the wages for most UC service workers are not enough to cover the basic costs of living in California.

    The NEDLC is a national research organization that provides help to low-income areas and promotes a higher quality of living within various communities.

    Community members, students and service workers gathered in Kerckhoff Hall for the release of the report and to show support for service workers.

    The report, titled “High Ideals, Low Pay; a Wage Analysis of UC Service Workers,” analyzed 6,374 workers at nine University of California campuses and five medical centers.

    “What we want to do is get the idea out there that even though the university has this reputation for being a place of opportunity, that that’s not necessarily the case,” said Aimee Durfee, a senior program specialist for NEDLC.

    According to the report, 46 percent of UC service employees earn wages that would not meet the basic needs for a family with two parents working full-time and raising two children, if both adults worked for the university.

    The report also found that the minimum amount an average senior custodian makes is $9.75 an hour, while the maximum is $12.51, which is less than their counterparts make at the California State University and community college systems.

    The speakers discussed the implications of such low wages.

    Luz Roman, an assistant cook with UCLA catering, said she has been working at UCLA for seven years and must pick up cans to be able to pay her rent and take care of her children.

    “The university is beautiful. People think I am so proud of working here. I went to college for two and a half years, and I’ve been an assistant cook for seven years. I know I can do better,” Roman said.

    “I know (the university) can do better. The truth is that UCLA is pretty from the outside, but not from the inside,” she said.

    The wages for many UC workers are low enough to qualify them for nine different public welfare benefits, Durfee said.

    According to the report, the benefits allow the workers to take care of their families, but it represents a public payout subsidizing UC’s low wages.

    Many workers are single parents who have no outside help and must work at least two jobs because they do not make enough at UCLA, Durfee said.

    Dina Calederon, a senior custodian who said she has worked at UCLA for one and a half years, cleans classrooms and offices. For overtime she cleans bathrooms.

    “By day I clean houses and babysit. If I am asked to work as a nanny on the weekend, I go. I need money for my household,” Calederon, who speaks Spanish, said through a translator.

    She said when her daughter asks for six dollars to go out to eat, she cannot afford to give her the money, let alone save money for her daughter’s future.

    “My daughter wants to go to college, but how can she with the money we are making?” Calederon said.

    Students showed their support for workers and discussed how state budget cuts to the university have affected workers and students.

    “It is not in the UC Master Plan for student fees to rise and wages to go down,” said Anita Garcia, a second-year law student and member of the UC Student Association and Graduate Student Association.

    The UC recognizes the financial struggles that are affecting everyone in the system, university officials said.

    “Budget cuts have recently prevented the university from giving system-wide raises to employees for the last two years. Fortunately, the compact of the governor provides an increase in salary funding if it is passed by legislature,” said Noel Van Nyhuis, a spokesman for the UC Office of the President.

    “The (wage) comparisons in the report are not accurate and only compare wage ranges, and not actual salaries,” he added. “By comparing wage ranges it doesn’t actually reflect what is being paid.”

    The UC does recognize that in some cases they are lagging behind with wages, Van Nyhuis said.

    Changes in wages will not be able to be made until state funding is increased, UC officials say.

    UC service workers say they hope that through the report and the support they have received the wage problem will be solved soon.

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