Students belong along the sidelines. VOTE NO this week to preserve sideline seating for Bruin students at Pauley. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Don't forget to sign the petition to get students back on the sidelines today and also join Facebook event asking UCLA students to vote to restore court-side seating.
From multiple readers we have received what we think is the text of the question that will be presented to students on the USAC ballot starting today. It's a simple question that says nothing about united or divided student sections. Here is how it looks:
For years, UCLA students have occupied the north sideline seats (center court) at UCLA basketball games. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has proposed moving all the student seats behind one basket. Do you support this proposal?
___ No Preference
Read it at face value. Don't ask what if. It's a simple question: Do you support losing your sideline floor seating section for the worst seats in the arena?
The choice is here for all students of course is to Vote a resounding "NO."
Note this text was emailed to us over the weekend. Since there has been no transparency in this process yet, there could very well be last minute changes in the text above to tilt the results to favor Morgan Center. Moreover, the text above does not get the information across that the sideline seats for students have been a tradition for Coach Wooden's U.C.L.A. basketball program since Pauley opened in 1966. This is how it has always been inside Pauley because that is how Coach wanted it. That little detail, which was originally included by the students, was ruled out of the question by the Morgan Center, which is just another Morgan-special disservice to students.
Still, students have a huge opportunity to send a message to Morgan Center and to rest of the U.C.L.A. community this week about their appreciation of the traditions of one of the most iconic sports teams in American history. They also have a chance for some Bruin redemption.
We have heard numerous times from our classic alums about how more than 40 years ago U.C.L.A. students let down generation of future Bruin students by voting down on campus stadium. Here is Fox71:
There was a vote by the students as to whether to add some nominal amount to the incidental fee, something like a dollar, to take it from $121.80 a semester to $122.80 a semester, and that went down to defeat by something like 630 to 620. That was taken by the No On-Campus Stadium crowd as a sign that the students were against it. I think the votes were counted somewhere in the offices of the Free Speech Movement, and no football fans were allowed to vote in any event.
Fox71's account was confirmed by by Twothphry:
The number one killer of football spirit is not having an on campus stadium! My senior year 66-67, the students voted to assess themselves and contribute to the building of an on campus stadium. Thje richies in Westwood fought the idea and no stadium.
More than 40 years later, U.C.L.A. students now have an historic opportunity to gain some redemption. This time it doesn't have to do with building something new that would be the center of spirit. This time it has to do with protecting something very special - court-side seating for students - that became a huge part of the special relationship between Coach Wooden's basketball program and the student community in Westwood.
There is a reason why folks like Classof66, Fox71, Bruinnut, Twothphry and others are so passionate and emotional about their Bruin roots. When voting starts today, and students will have an opportunity to preserve something so special to all of us, I think it is worth revisiting the words of Classof66:
One reason I think we would hold on to our alums is because for us, the graduated -- no matter what our class year -- coming home is important. And, being with a group of rabid young Bruins brings back those incredible memories that have made us life long Bruins.
And, that's another important point. I love UCLA. I BLEED Blue and Gold. What has given me that deep instilled loyalty? It wasn't the pleasure of attending a large campus, sitting in large classes or being a number to the admin people. It was the athletic programs. There is where I found a clear place. And, there is where the ember of Bruinhood within me was fanned to flames. I loved my education at UCLA; the quality speaks for itself. But, my deep loyalty was built in Pauley and the Coliseum.
The university should appreciate that. I am on the downside of my curve. The university should be building loyalty in new generations of alum's. Want our money? Treat us right as students.
I'll end with the following closing paragraphs from an epic post from Bruinnut dressing down Morgan Center:
Who are we building the new Pauley for, Morgan Center? By your actions, and insultingly by your deceitful words and carefully calculated "surveys," it most certainly is not for the students. But, shouldn't it be? Shouldn't the almighty donors have to get in line, behind students, to visit this University arena? Shouldn't your mission be to do everything in your power to enrich the student experience? Shouldn't you be concerned about breeding lifelong Bruins, and not coincidentally, tomorrow's donors? Isn't that why UCLA exists, for the students? One would think. Coach would have thought so.
The contrast is incredibly stark. Here, one of the most principled men in modern history helps bring all kinds of positive recognition to UCLA. And, here, the current administration hides behind "not financially viable" and shafts the students with a shrug.
We all deserve better, students, faculty, alumni, fans. It would seem that you, Morgan Center, lack both courage and convictions. Yes, it would take courage to stand up for lesser-paying students over generous donors. Sure, it would. It is very easy, and very acceptable, these days to say "we can't afford it." It takes real guts to stand up for principle, especially when principle lies with the little guy. It takes large cojones to stand for what's right against the winds of accepted reality.
It takes real courage that you, to date, have not shown. Please find it.
We hope the students find that courage this week. We hope they can get redemption.
Read the text of the ballot, students. Don't try to game this. This question says nothing about a unified section. This question is solely about history and the importance of students in Pauley Pavillion. We believe we can have the sidelines AND a unified student section, too. This is U.C.L.A. We can have the best. But the first step to that begins today. Get the sidelines back now, Bruins, and we will go from there. Vote NO and put a STOP to Morgan Center's attempt to take away what Coach gave you 40 years ago.
Come on, students. Make us proud. Better yet, make Coach proud.