If you haven't yet read tazmiami's courageous and poignant post that details him returning his U.C.L.A. clothing and sending his voided UCLA Fund check to the Chancellor, you should. It is powerful. Withholding support for the University you truly love is a painful thing to do, and I admire his conviction. Sending away ones U.C.L.A. clothing, which has a far greater sentimental value than monetary value, seems unthinkable. In all, it speaks to the level of sacrifice that tazmiami is willing to make in an effort to foster improvement in Westwood. I hope we all consider his sacrifice as we think of how we can pressure our administration to make desperately needed changes.
In the comment thread, there was a very interesting contribution from Sirinya, aka UCLA2009MAgrad, which was also her first comment on BN. Sirinya is a representative from the UCLA Fund and stepped in to protest tazmiami's decision to withhold donations to the UCLA Fund.
UCLA Fund donors support academic programs, research, and service initiatives across campus.
...rescinding your gift to the UCLA Fund is taking away from how well UCLA can meet the academic needs of our students, and that ultimately hurts them. And I don’t think that is your intention at all.
You should read Sirinya's entire comment here. In short, she makes the case that withholding donations to the UCLA Fund hurts UCLA students. She also makes herself available to continue the discussion.
First, I really admire and appreciate her engaging here on Bruins Nation. I know that this community can seem intimidating to those with opposing views, but her concerns are very professional and respectful, and therefore have merit, whether or not we agree. Too often, people with opposing opinions are defensive, snarky, and let emotion substitute for reason. Sirinya's response is exactly how opposing opinions can and should participate here. We welcome debate, otherwise we are preaching to the choir and not making the kind of progress we need, and we are missing an opportunity to consider alternatives ourselves. Besides, she's is a cyclist, and that makes her cool.
In this case, the issue that I think tazmiami is getting at, and that I think Sirinya is underestimating, is that many Bruins don't make that concrete separation between academics and athletics when we consider our UCLA experience. As tazmiami replied,
Of course I do not want to hurt students. That said – you want my money – don’t be apathetic about mediocrity and irrelevance whether it be in academics or athletics. If we had a Dean of Medicine that was incompetent and destroying our program – I would be just as active and vocal if not more
This sums it up perfectly. I know that higher ups in the University may have little interest in athletics. But as an alum, fan, and donor myself, my U.C.L.A. experience includes athletics just as much as academics. My experience also includes dorm life, IM sports, various social and cultural events, and life in Westwood. Others may include student government, research, the Greek system, ROTC, service and outreach, Band, and any of the other innumerable aspects that U.C.L.A offers to its community. It all counts. Athletics and academics are equal components of the whole that is U.C.L.A. If one aspect of the University suffers, the entire University and all associated with it suffer. My loyalty and love are for whole of U.C.L.A.
None of us want to hurt the students. The exact opposite is true. We desperately want to help the students to have the greatest college experience possible. That includes having competitive athletics teams, especially in football and basketball, where students can foster enthusiasm and pride and loyalty to U.C.L.A. Athletics provides this opportunity more than any other aspect of student life. It is where all Bruins, alum, fan or student and regardless of academic year, major, politics, religion, race, residence or anything else, can all come together and share the common U.C.L.A. experience as one. It is where many of my greatest memories occurred, and is a huge component of why I am a supporter today. Athletics help make U.C.L.A. whole and make it for a lifetime.
When the administration is willfully ignoring a critical part of that whole, it is fair for tazmiami, and myself, and hundreds of others to respond by withholding support of the University. So I would encourage Sirinya to consider why the UCLA Fund is losing donations, and to make sure her superiors in the administration know what is happening. Believe me, we sincerely want to support our school, as tazmiami explains
All you have to do is make your case to the Chancellor by stating " we could have had these funds but the presence and actions of [Dan Guerrero] are working against our best efforts". He will listen to you.
Hopefully the UCLA Fund can become an important ally for necessary change in Westwood, as it helps itself by helping the University as a whole. Just think of the loyalty we'd feel to the UCLA Fund if that were the case.