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The Siege of UCLA

Across from UCLA, on the other side of Sunset Boulevard, is Marymount High School, an all-girls Catholic school featuring Mission-style buildings on a six-and-a-half-acre campus. The history of the school is coterminous with the history of UCLA in the same neighborhood. After the siege of UCLA, all other similarities between the two are coincidental and irrelevant.

In the aftermath, the moral distance between the two is immeasurable. One sees its redemption in acts that give hope, for the health and consolation of all who receive hope, while the other, UCLA, makes it hard to see or do anything. The resultant darkness puts the lie to the promise of UCLA lighting the way in the pursuit of knowledge, creativity, and truth.

In terms of safety and maturity, UCLA has lost its way. The loss extends to students and faculty and alumni and friends of the university. The loss to the community is real and appreciable, undermining quality of life and the qualities necessary to live the full life of the mind.

Compounding the loss is testimony and evidence of antisemitic violence. That the violence is not exclusive to UCLA is no excuse. That the violence is worse elsewhere is no defense. That others excuse the violence is indefensible.

Worse still is inaction in the face of violence and of Chancellor Gene Block’s failure to show his face and stare down the perpetrators of violence. Anything short of this standard constitutes a failure to act, a refusal to respond, as a crisis descends into a state of emergency. The sole deterrent is swift and sure punishment of the guilty, starting with the chancellor, because he has no mandate to lead.

The restoration of UCLA begins with works, not words. The restoration continues with works, for they are a testament of sincerity. The restoration endures through works, for they have the last word.

Everything else is immaterial to the purpose of UCLA.

Everything else is mere material—stones, wood, concrete, glass, and steel—because the soul of UCLA is made of more resilient stuff.

Restoration is the honor UCLA owes itself.

The writer, who chooses to be anonymous, lives two miles from UCLA.

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About Anonymous

Anonymous is a writer who works in the medical device industry.

Photo: TOPSHOT - Pro-Palestinian demonstrators regroup and rebuild the barricade surrounding the encampment set up on the campus of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) as clashes erupt with counter protesters, in Los Angeles on May 1, 2024. Clashes broke out on May 1, 2024 around pro-Palestinian demonstrations at the University of California, Los Angeles, US television media footage showed, as universities around the United States struggle to contain similar protests on dozens of campuses. (Photo by ETIENNE LAURENT / AFP) (Photo by ETIENNE LAURENT/AFP via Getty Images)