Bumped. - BN Eds.
As I sit at my computer and reminisce about our annual Spring Scrimmage today, my mind is on matters far more important than the state of UCLA Football.
UCLA grad and author Carlos Castaneda in his series of semi anthropological books introduced the notion of ‘Controlled Folly.’ My personal interpretation of this idea is that it is something you do knowing full well that your actions are meaningless. For example, I personally believe voting has become a pointless exercise, but I vote every election anyway. That is my controlled folly.
Today I embarked on a controlled folly with a small number of current students at UCLA. We attended the UCLA Spring Scrimmage to directly approach Students, Alumni and Fans with petitions demanding the return to the original seating assignments for the renovated Pauley Pavilion as originally published in the Campaign of Champions.
Our pitch was simple, "Can you spare a minute to sign a petition that directly affects UCLA students?" If we got a bite we would move on, "are you aware that when the Pauley Pavilion renovation is complete, the students are going to be completely removed from their sideline seats and placed behind one of the baskets?
Reactions varied widely. The overwhelming majority of people were in too big a hurry to get to their seats to get past the opening statement. I would guess 10% said, "I really don’t care." Approximately 50-60% of those who stopped long enough to hear our purpose had no idea the students were being removed. Approximately 20-30% of those people said, "That is just wrong" in some form or another when they found out. And finally an approximate 20% already knew what was going on and were only too happy to sign the petition. I would say that of all the people that I stopped long enough to inform of our purpose and the student banishment 85-90% signed the petition.
These are my approximations and in no way are they meant to hold mathematical water.
I myself filled a couple of pages of signatures. I can only wonder what more students with more time to approach alumni and fans could have accomplished.
The most interesting part of my day occurred when Ken Weiner, the Senior Associate Athletic Director, stopped one student and myself. He was clearly unhappy with what we were doing and repeatedly stated, "This is not the time or place for this." He repeatedly encouraged us to follow the proper channels and discuss this with . . . and at this point he would at different times suggest different officials; at one point even suggesting we talk to Dan Guerrero. When that was clearly not going to work he insinuated that what we were doing was pointless in hopes that we would see the light and stop bothering these people.
We then entered into a long and heated discussion about the state of Bruin Pride. He repeatedly reiterated the party line that the Student Body wanted this move, that USAC approved this move; but we weren’t going to have that. I spoke my belief that he was simply using delaying tactics to keep us from speaking to as many people as we could.
As antagonistic as our meeting was, I did feel his sense of frustration with sagging student attendance at games; the frustration of getting the student body behind Bruin Sports. However, when I mentioned the need to build School Spirit, and what a poor job the Morgan Center was doing, he again backed himself into a corner by stating that that was the responsibility of USAC. This illustrates the failure of the Morgan Center to realize their roles in shaping student life, and in my mind underscores their mentality of running a business wherein students, alumni, and fans are customers as opposed to family members that have to be embraced and invested into in order to build the long lasting bonds of school pride.
The highlight of my day came when I found a woman who knew all about our plight and stated she had read all about it on Bruins Nation. It was our very own UclaLuv, and the hug she gave me was as heartfelt an expression of family as any hug I’ve received by friend or family member.
Therefore, while Ken Weiner and others at the Morgan Center may believe we have embarked on a meaningless crusade, we will continue in our controlled folly because we care deeply about our school. We will continue because we found that the more people we talk to, the more people that knew nothing about what is going on. This is what the Morgan Center wants as expressed by a comment made by Mr. Weiner. When informed with this piece of information his response was "well they should read the web, the emails . . .it’s all there." Again, a complete lack of accountability and a comment which spoke to their complete lack of desire to actually go out and inform their public what they are doing.
The petition will soon be made available online and the focus placed on spreading the word electronically. We will ask for your help to spread the word and enlist others to sign the petition.
The online petition is up and running. You can find it here.
The first step is obvious: if you agree with us, sign the petition; then do everything you can to gather signatures. This is one of those opportunities where everyone of us can do something for the greater good. Everyone of us can reach out to old classmates and encourage them to get on board. If they know nothing about this; this is your opportunity to inform them about what's going on. There is an email function that will allow you to email up to five friends at once. You will have the ability to 'like' it on facebook. Do not rest once you have informed your friends and classmates. Check in with them later.
If you prefer the cut and past method, the full URL is: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/enduclastudentsbanishment/
Continue to speak out on the UCLA Athletics Facebook page.
Do more than you think you are able to do. STUDENTS FIRST!