UCLA alumnus funds Affordability Initiative, provides scholarships to California students

UC Los Angeles alumnus Peter Merlone donated $15 million to the university to fund the Affordability Initiative, a scholarship program aiming to make pursuing an undergraduate degree more affordable, the Daily Bruin reported.

The initiative will award four-year scholarships to up to 35 California residents each year, beginning in 2o24. The scholarships — each $20,000 — will be distributed to the recipients over the course of their four years at UCLA, according to a UCLA Newsroom press release.

“UCLA recognizes that volatility in the U.S. and global economies, the high cost of living in Los Angeles, ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other factors are creating a college affordability challenge for students and their families,” UCLA spokesperson Barbra Ramos said in an email statement to the Daily Bruin.

Ramos added in the statement that the initiative is not only focused on addressing tuition costs but also on correcting the economic boundaries present in housing, health insurance and transportation costs.

Vandalism reported at UC President’s Berkeley residence

University of California President Michael V. Drake’s house in Berkeley, California, was vandalized on May 15, Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Jessica Perry told the Daily Californian.

According to Perry, the back of the residence was spray painted with racial slurs and profanity, among other symbols.

UC Police Departments told The Daily Californian that they initially responded to help, but the UC San Francisco Police Department will handle the investigation.

The UC Office of the President released a statement after the vandalism took place, NBC Bay Area reported.

“The University of California condemns all hate crimes committed against members of our campus communities,” the statement read. “We will continue doing everything possible to create a safe and welcoming university community for all.”

ASUCI advocates for UCI to remedy housing shortage

Associated Students at UC Irvine sent an email to all undergraduate students on Thursday, May 11, urging the UCI administration to mitigate the university’s housing shortage, UCI’s New University reported.

Associated Students at UC Irvine (ASUCI) sent the email after American Campus Communities (ACC) — a student housing developer — outlined its plan to address the situation.

“Currently there are 446 continuing students on our housing waitlist for 2023-24, and I believe ACC has over 3,000 active applications,” UCI’s Housing Administrative Services Director Connie Malone told New University. 

In the email, ASUCI addressed several issues related to housing that UCI students face, including rent inflation and difficulties finding a guarantor. 

Fourth-year history major, ASUCI Senate President Pro-Tempore and primary author of the email Dilruba Asici also emphasized the fact the problem will only continue to worsen.

“It is clear that the issue will only continue to accumulate with Governor Newsom’s financial support deal to the UCs, which requires an increase of 8,000 California resident admissions into the UC system, meaning more incoming transfer and freshman, or a larger pool of students who get guaranteed housing will push out housing options for sophomores, juniors, and seniors,” Asici told New University. 

A version of this article appeared on p. 2 of the June 1, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.   


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at alexlevin@dailynexus.com.