Why does this student seating fiasco/boondoggle feel like the plot of a bad movie?
By now, it shouldn't be a surprise that Mark Harlan, Dan Guerrero's point-man during the entire student seating boondoggle, is nothing but a flat-out liar. As we've pointed out here before, Harlan, along with the other Dan cronies at Morgan Center have systematically engaged in a dishonest pattern of putting out misinformation to mislead students, alums, and fans.
Of course, within hours of the students overwhelmingly rejecting Morgan Center's plan, ol'
Baghdad Bob Mark Harlan was back into full spin/lie/bulls**t mode. Never mind that this vote exposed Harlan's earlier disingenuous and misleading claim that "7,000" students were "surveyed" and "approved" of this new plan (reality: 700 responded, all of whom were Den members). What's comical about Mark Harlan is that he's not a very good liar: he can't even stay on the same script as his boss. You see, Dan came out prior to the vote and said (emphasis added):
Last month, after extensive deliberation with student leadership, Athletics announced new plans for the student seating in renovated Pauley Pavilion. This week, the Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) decided to further explore the overall student body reaction to the seating adjustment by placing a question on the upcoming election ballot. I fully support USAC's engagement in this process and look forward to working with them as we examine the results of the question. If ultimately, a return to the previously established student section is the desire, then that is what we will do.
Following the beat-down they received at the ballot box, Morgan Center (via lying scumbag Mark Harlan) was singing a different tune:
Mark Harlan, senior associate athletic director for external relations, said UCLA athletics recognizes the vote and will take it into consideration.
"Our plan all along has been … to get everyone together who’s involved with student spirit and get their opinions on the best way forward from here," he said.
Moving forward, athletics will work primarily with student groups that have already been involved in the development of a seating plan for the new arena, including the Undergraduate Students Association Council, the Spirit Squad and the Den, Harlan said.
In other words, a direct contradiction of what Guerrero claimed. "Tak[ing] it into consideration" is not the same as following the will of the overwhelming majority of students (who have now voted and made themselves heard), alums (as we've seen here at BN and Facebook), and fans.
What's interesting was Mark's other comments: you see, what he said was essentially, "yeah we'll consider the student vote, then we'll toss it aside, get back with the same student "leaders" who we sold this garbage plan to and do what we want anyway."
Notice Mark didn't mention wanting to work with the students who led the effort against this ill-conceived, underhanded plan, like Sean Wang or Brandon Scapa. Note he didn't want to reach out to members of this community (like MexiBruin or Classof66) who have been vocal against this from an alumni point of view. Nope, lying scumbag Mark Harlan wants to keep doing things the same ol' way, the student vote be damned.
In short, Harlan, and the rest of the Dan G. cronies have been lying and will continued to lie and say whatever they need to say to swindle their way into shafting the students out of their traditional sideline seats. Of course, for a lying scumbag like Mark Harlan, this isn't a problem. It's what he does.
Let's break down Mark Harlan's history of being a two-faced lying scumbag after the jump.
Remember when Dan G. sent ol'
Baghdad Bob Mark Harlan to "meet" with student leaders? And somehow, those student "leaders" after hearing Mark's sweet nothings went full Stockholm Syndrome for Morgan Center, selling out the student body and defending Morgan Center's idiotic plan, even when it became evident that the overwhelming majority of students, alums, and fans were adamantly opposed to stripping student sideline seating.
Mark, being the manipulative Machiavellian operator (willing to lie and deceive when it suits Dan G.'s agenda), played those kids for chumps and co-opted them. Why? To give some appearance of legitimacy to their plan to "enhance" the student experience at Pauley Pavilion. If the Den President and USAC President signed off it, then it gave the appearance that this was student-approved.
But you see, what the casual reader doesn't know, is that this isn't new for Mark. You see, he did the same thing with us here at Bruins Nation.
Back on January 19, Ryan wrote up a piece calling out Morgan Center for a total lack of communication regarding the Pauley Pavilion renovation. Ryan put Dan G. on blast for not providing the Bruin community with any tangible answers or information for over 600 days. He closed it out strong:
There are a lot of questions that one could ask about the Pauley Pavilion renovation project. Renovating an arena as historic and iconic as Pauley Pavilion is sure to upset some people. Put aside the renovation plans themselves and the issues that lone will cause, at the very least UCLA could properly communicate with the Bruin community. Have we had any questions answered? No. Have we gotten any new information? No. Have there been additional models, renderings of any visuals at all to cause further excitement? No. Has UCLA treated the Bruin community like valued members of a family? Not in the slightest and all of this is a matter of communication...or the lack of it.
Shortly after that post hit the front page,
Baghdad Bob Mark Harlan was on the phone with Ryan and had set up a meeting to discuss the issues Ryan raised about a total lack of communication from Morgan Center:
Whether it was about the plan itself, the status of the fundraising, the work being done on the arena or anything at all regarding the renovation, the Bruin community was left in the dark. After I wrote my post, I got an invitation from Mark Harlan, Senior Associate Athletic Director of External Relations, to meet him at the Morgan Center and discuss the project.
At the time (January 27), we were optimistic that Morgan Center had finally stepped into the 21st century, reaching out to the members of the Bruin community, engaging with the "new media" and opening up a dialogue about how to improve. But, now, with the benefit of hindsight and knowledge of the timeline for Morgan Center's underhanded scheme to forcibly relocate the students to the worst seats in the new arena, one thing has become abundantly clear:
Mark Harlan blew smoke up our behind. It was a front, a lie, a cheap gimmick to keep us happy (and quiet).
Mark Harlan lied to us on the hope that we too could be bought (with "access" and "open communication") just like the student "leaders" who sold the student body out were.
As we know now, Morgan Center had been plotting for some time to strip the students of their sideline seating. In fact, they openly admit it in their March 30 press release:
This past December, the UCLA Athletic Department asked you to participate in a survey regarding the student experience at our athletic events. The results were very informative and we want to thank all of you who participated. Over the past few months, we have been working with numerous campus student and non-student groups to implement many of the survey's findings.
The survey went out in December. Per the press release, meetings with student "leaders" occurred shortly after and went on for the "past few months" leading up to March 30. But as you can expect from a lying scumbag like Mark Harlan, the press release was chock full of misinformation too. As student BN readers told us, the scheme to steal student sideline seating had been in the works for quite some time:
BruinKid (March 30):
So you know how...a few months ago I had posted a comment about how the Campaign of Champions site was wrong with respect to the student seating arrangement? This is what I was talking about. Yeah, we had a meeting about this. But it wasn't like this was what we WANTED.
But it was either behind the basket, or another seating arrangement that you'd find even MORE distasteful for the students. Those were the only two options we were given. So we took the less crappy plan.
lil eg not cs (March 30):
This was resolved about a year and a half ago some of us, by us I mean the den president and I, were invited to a focus group about the renovation. We were led to believe that the student seating would remain the same along with adding seats behind the basket. That's the way it should be.
In short, Mark Harlan fed Ryan nothing but empty promises. When he sat down with Ryan, face-to-face in the Morgan Center, he knew full well what they were planning on doing with the student section. Yet, he looks at a member of this community eye-to-eye and promises "better communication" all-the-while knowing that they are secretly planning on stripping the students of their traditional (as it was under Coach Wooden) sideline seats.
Calling Harlan's conduct that day dishonest would be a hilariously woeful understatement.
Isn't it funny how proven liar Mark Harlan is eager to promise "better communication" when it suits him, yet the plot to strip students of their sideline seating was only made known to a very small number of kids without the experience, memory, or judgment to know better?
Funny how he's happy to promise "better communication" but Morgan Center was completely unwilling to communicate their little plan to the entire Bruin community (including students-at-large, alums, and fans) and not just the hand-selected sheep from the Den and USAC?
Dan Guerrero and Mark Harlan are always happy to "communicate" when it suits them and gets them empty plaudits and accolades, yet will try to sneak an underhanded screw-job of the students by the Bruin community at large.
No surprise from an athletic department that employs a two-faced snake willing to lie and mislead impressionable students when it suits him and his boss,
Nero Dan Guerrero. Absolutely shameful that either of these lying scumbags are employed by UCLA. An embarassment to the university and the values it is supposed to stand for.
Then again, what do you expect when you hire a lying Mildcat chump?