FanPost

#SFatPauley: Morgan Center Can't Escape the Heat: Lies to Alums, Ignores Complaints

Hmm, it's now been about a week-and-a-half since the morons at Morgan Center rolled out their plan to "enhance" the student experience at Pauley Pavilion by moving the students to the cheap seats on the baseline.  So, for about a week-and-a-half, UCLA students, alums, and fans have been blowing up both BN and Morgan Center's Facebook page with tons of negative criticism.

Now, despite the mountain of criticism, Morgan Center has decided to not answer the legitimate, hard questions that fellow Bruins are posting on their Facebook.  Well, that's not entirely true: sometimes the hacks at Morgan Center have responded, but when they did it was either one of the tired canned responses that have been shredded by Bruins both on BN and Facebook or a flat-out lie.

Fortunately, our fellow Bruins out there on Facebook aren't taking it lying down and are continuing to blast Morgan Center for their deceitful handling of this entire boondoggle.  Sometimes it appears Morgan Center forgot their audience: these people are not idiotic peons with an overpriced junior college level education accustomed to burying their heads in the sand (read: U$C alums). These folks graduated from one of the most elite academic institutions in the world: these folks are UCLA graduates and they aren't going to have the wool pulled over their eyes.

Unfortunately for Morgan Center, this time they got caught with their pants down and in a bold-faced lie.

Let's break it down more after the jump.

First, let's recap how the last week-plus has gone:

Right away, gbruin broke down how Morgan Center's little "survey" was a misleading, flat-out lie used to justify what, as tasser10 pointed out, was tantamount to a bait-and-switch land grab

Moving on, Achilles followed up blasting the language used in the "survey" exposing how slimy and morally reprehensible Morgan Center has been with this boondoggle. Class of 66 went even further, blasting the "survey" and calling for an investigation into what is equivalent to academic dishonesty and fraud, closing with calls for heads to roll at Morgan Center.

Soon after, Bruins started flooding Morgan Center's Facebook page with negative criticism, in part due to calls to action by fellow concerned Bruins like Go Bruinz, who encouraged those dissatisfied to make their voice known.

But as Tydides noted, Morgan Center, being the out-of-touch idiots that they are, decided it'd be better to just delete the criticism from their Facebook rather than address the legitimate criticism of their terrible decision.

Obviously, the blowback from censorship was hard: Achilles detailed out post after post from angry Bruins blasting Morgan Center on Facebook, not only for their two-faced banishment of the students' to the sidelines but for their Orwellian censorship and arrogance in thinking they could force this down the throats of the UCLA community.

Meanwhile, I hit out at Morgan Center and the student "leadership" that sold out the student body, not only by using a crooked survey of a limited number of students, but also by defending Morgan Center and acting like their press secretary, posting spoon-fed talking points from lying chumps like Mark Harlan. While shredding bk bruin's failed rambling garbage post, I also hit on how other elite programs (that have been outperforming UCLA for the last decade-plus) have student sections that are on the sideline or wrap around the sideline to the baseline, using Duke's Cameron Crazies and Michigan State's Izzone as excellent examples of how student seating can be done right.

At the same time, Patroclus exposed how Morgan Center misled the UCLA community in their press release about its comparisons to other student sections and systematically debunked that this move would be any kind of improvement for the atmosphere at Pauley or "enhance" the student experience.

gbruin brought it full-circle, chronicling all of the failures of UCLA's Athletic Department under Dan Guerrero, putting together a complete list of every Morgan Center failure under Dear Leader Dan, all while blasting Dan for being too busy getting cozy with his NCAA chums and being preoccupied with UPS commercials instead of taking care of business in Westwood.

During that week, it came to light that Mark "Baghdad Bob" Harlan wanted to talk to a concerned student about this plan, OswegoBruin brought up excellent, hard questions that Morgan Center needed to address:

Here are some suggested questions for folks who are meeting with Harlan or any other UCLA officials in person or communicating on email concerning this issue:

  • Ask why the student survey was conducted in such an egregiously subversive manner?
  • Why were the students not asked DIRECTLY if they were supportive of moving the student section behind just one baseline, and instead asked something tangentially (at best) similar?
  • Ask why this situation even occurred in the first place? Why, if the original "success" (as had been claimed by UCLA AD officials including Harlan) of fund-raising allowed for lower donations for seats?
  • Why are the student sections, as planned by the Morgan center originally, no longer financially sufficient? Did they lie then, or are they lying now? It simply cannot be neither.

Moreover, Bruins came up with additional, tough questions for Morgan Center in the comment thread. The best part of Oswego's post though, was that it spurred other Bruins on Facebook to blast Morgan Center's Facebook with those tough questions.  Morgan Center, unsurprisingly, was mostly silent.

However, this weekend things got real interesting on Facebook: Morgan Center got caught and called out in a bold-faced lie.

First, Bruins have been hitting Morgan Center's Facebook with tough questions since this idiotic "student enhancement" plan came to light.  During the week, Morgan Center responded with a flat-out lie and got called for it:

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Despite Morgan Center's refusal to even consider reversing this terrible decision (BTW "the decision stands" sounds so douchey), Bruins kept hitting Morgan Center with tough questions:

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All of this went down on Thursday.  Morgan Center couldn't be bothered to respond.

On Friday, things got a lot more interesting:

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In the morning, Luchino Castagno, questioned Morgan Center's new plan, and this time, Morgan Center decided to respond, albeit with a comically terrible lie:

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Hahahahahahahahahaha.  Where did Morgan Center hire these people? Saddam's Ministry of Information?

But, things got a lot worse for Morgan Center in the afternoon when one Bruin student, with some interesting insight into the seating arrangement put the chumps at Morgan Center on blast:

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Jason Scapa, you are my hero. Morgan Center just got served.  But Bruins kept piling on:

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That was followed by this interesting exchange from a few Bruins who kept asking hard questions and kept getting ignored:

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That's when Morgan Center decided to trot out this gem:

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Yeah, that didn't play out so well:

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Which ended with this epic response from the original poster (emphasis mine):

@UCLA Athletics: Wow. You people can't help but flat-out lie, can you? Let me make this clear: I'm an alumni. I'm a taxpayer of the State of California. Most of us are. You are state employees. As a fellow public employee, let me spe...ll this out for you.

YOU. WORK. FOR. THE. PUBLIC.

And we want answers. You refer to an article on uclabruins.com without providing a link, which is just lazy. But it obviously refers to your original press release (http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/033011aab.html). Nowhere, and I repeat, nowhere in there does Mark Harlan say anything about any constraints (financial, security, policy, etc.) causing the student section to be moved to the baseline.

In your article, Mark Harlan only says the following:

"We surveyed over 7,000 members of `The Den' regarding several subjects and they gave us some outstanding feedback on ways to enhance the student experience at our events. One thing that became very clear is that students want to be together and have some fun. Over 82 percent desired a seating area that gave them unity and the ability to help give our teams the home court advantage they deserve."

"At the end of the day, we want the students to have a great experience and we want The Den to create the tremendous home court advantage for our teams. The Student Event Enhancement Committee will provide us regular feedback on how we can continue to work together to accomplish those goals. I want to thank all the survey responders as well as the outstanding student leaders who have provided great feedback and guidance as we looked at these changes. We will continue to lean on all of them in creating the greatest home field and home court advantage in the nation."

NOWHERE does Harlan say a single thing about any economic or fiscal constraints. NONE WHATSOEVER.

Rather, it's in the Daily Bruin (http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/article/2011/03/the_den_will_sit_in_new_student_section_when_new_pauley_pavilion_opens_in_2012) where Harlan describes the "financial constraints" as you've put it:

"Mark Harlan, UCLA’s senior associate athletic director for external relations, said that extending the current sideline student section from floor to ceiling wasn’t a viable option financially, causing it to move behind the basket to incorporate all students."

That article ran on March 31, 2011.

Now, UCLA Athletics, let me ask you this: how do you reconcile Harlan's statement that it's not financially viable to put the students from the floor to ceiling on the sideline with this gem from Dan Guerrero (http://www.campaignofchampions.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114%3Aucla-reduces-annual-donation-levels-for-pauley-seating&catid=39%3Ablog-articles&Itemid=102) on January 19, 2011:

"We are happy to announce that due to the enormous generosity of hundreds of donors during our Campaign of Champions, all per seat Wooden Athletic Fund donation requirements throughout renovated Pauley Pavilion will be reduced by 20 percent from the previously-announced levels," said Guerrero. "While this campaign is not yet completed, we currently have $65 million committed in cash and signed pledges plus $22 million in proposals under consideration as we drive towards our overall goal of $100 million. Based on feedback, we believe that this reduction will be welcome news to our fans and supporters. We also anticipate generating additional funds through sponsorship and naming rights opportunities."

So, which is it: from Guerrero's statement, it would appear that Morgan Center is so flush with donations and cash from the Campaign of Champions that you're able to reduce the annual donation requirements for the Wooden Athletic Fund (and thus, the corresponding seats at the Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion). How can Harlan say it's not financially viable if you're flush with cash? Or is it really because you're hurting for money that you need to bump the students to the baseline to sell their prime sideline seat real estate to more donors to cover for an otherwise unspectacular donation campaign for this lame renovation of Pauley?

You can't have it both ways. If you were doing so well in January, what changed that caused an increased student sideline section to be not financially viable?


Moreover, even if you assume that a sideline student section from the floor to the ceiling isn't financially viable, why can't you simply keep the current student section where it is, as it is, and then wrap it around to the baseline? In other words, why won't you keep Pauley the way it was when you solicited hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in donations with your original plan (http://cdn3.sbnation.com/imported_assets/687091/seating_chart.jpg)?

If you're so concerned about making the student section a unified whole, why not give the students the sideline section as indicated in the original plan (the bottom of sections 114-118) as well as the entirety of sections 122 and 123 (the baseline at the visiting bench)? It's a cohesive whole and it's done by another elite program that has been out-performing us for the last decade: Michigan State. Oh, and Duke, the guys who are out-performing our program by leaps and bounds the last two decades go beyond that with student seating on the bottom of one whole baseline with more students at both ends of the court.

The evidence is overwhelming and it's clear that you keep lying to us. Simply telling us time and time again that your new plan will "positively impact" the student experience doesn't make it true.

That'd be no different than me throwing a brick through your car window and telling you, no matter what you said, that me smashing out your windshield would "enhance" your driving experience by allowing you to really feel the wind in your hair as you drive.

Morgan Center, all you're doing with this ridiculous defense of a pathetic and obviously flawed plan is demonstrate how out-of-touch you are. You keep this up and the UCLA alumni, fan base, and students will continue to push until all of you are out of a job.

Because, in case you forgot, you're public employees, and you shouldn't remember who it is you work for:

Us.

O. M. G.

Morgan Center apparently couldn't come up with a real response (despite having nearly 12 hours to respond), which led to the original poster ripping Dan G.'s chumps again:

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But that's not even the end of it.  Other Bruins are hitting on it too: why won't Morgan Center actually address the real questions that are surrounding this COMPLETE FAILURE?

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Well, Brian and Brad, all of Bruins Nation is waiting with you for a real answer.  But, knowing those hacks at Morgan Center, they'll keep deflecting the question, claim the "students wanted this", or give us some other kind of garbage doublespeak.

As evident by Morgan Center's Facebook page, it's become evident that the UCLA community is in an uproar over this plan, but Morgan has made it clear, by their censorship and refusal to engage in any dialogue about the legitimate criticism of their plan, they don't care what the UCLA community thinks about this plan.  Instead, as shown in all the comments above, either Mark Harlan is a flat-out liar or Dan Guerrero is. Someone in Morgan Center is lying to students, alumni, and the fanbase.  That someone is a public employee.  That someone needs to be fired.

GO BRUINS

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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