Thứ Sáu, Tháng Sáu 9, 2023
HomeNewsUCLA camp closes for summer amid sexual assault allegations

UCLA camp closes for summer amid sexual assault allegations

UCLA’s Bruin Woods Camp will close for the summer as the school faces allegations of a tradition of hate and sexual assault from two students who worked at the Lake Arrowhead getaway, officials have confirmed. with The Times on Thursday.

The 10-week camp, which hosts 85 alumni families each week, notified participants of its closure on Friday.

“We are aware of allegations of inappropriate activity related to our Bruin Woods program and continue to look into the matter,” UCLA spokeswoman Margery Gray said in a statement to The Times. this topic. “We are also making changes in an effort to provide an exceptional experience for everyone.”

Gray said the suspension was necessary to “fully update our operations.” She said she doesn’t know what specific changes officials are making at the camp, or whether the camp will continue to operate in the summer of 2024.

The temporary closure comes months after UCLA students Samea Derrick and Lydia Dixon, who worked at the camp last summer, File a lawsuit against the regents of the University of California in October.

In the lawsuit and in previous interviews with The Times, the couple alleges that they were sexually assaulted and harassed by student counselors, including verbally and physically, deprived of sensation, forced nudity and forced drinking. The lawsuit also alleges that bullying practices, called “tradition” by counselors, have been going on for decades at the camp, which was established in 1985 for UCLA alumni and their families. Surname.

Other camp counselors, including two men accused of sexually assaulting students, were also named as defendants. The lawsuit alleges negligence, civil rights violations, bullying, gender-based violence, two cases of assault and assault, and willful mental distress. It seeks a jury trial, $50,000 in damages and compensation for legal costs and medical expenses.

Despite UCLA’s commitment to changes at the camp, UC administrators denied the allegations and said the board was not responsible for damages, according to court documents they obtained. filed in November in response to the lawsuit. Lawyers for the university system said Derrick and Dixon “failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to them through the University of California’s established internal complaints procedures.”

The board also alleges in court documents that it took “prompt and appropriate remedial actions” in response to students’ concerns.

The case will go to trial on February 8.

Bruin Woods relies on more than 50 UCLA students as camp counselors each summer. The positions are coveted by students, have the opportunity to network with alumni, and often attract a large pool of applicants.

It was unclear whether the camp would hire new student workers before the decision to close the camp was made. But students have been offered alternative employment options, Gray said.

UCLA says that the site itself remains open to alumni and their families, but without a student advisor, it would not offer the usual Bruin Woods program.

Scott Carr, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Derrick and Dixon, said that he and his client were pleased to learn of the temporary closure and that “others this year will not be treated as customers.” ours. suffered last year and others have suffered in the past.

“I think the suspension of operations at Bruin Woods is a clear signal that the regents are taking the allegations seriously and that it is the first step towards accountability and harm prevention. in the future,” Carr said. He added that he hopes the suspension is “a catalyst for change in creating a safe and healthy environment for staff and camp attendees.”

Derrick and Dixon spoke to The Times shortly after the lawsuit was filed and recalled their experiences at the camp, including a five-day period in June when much of the abuse allegedly occurred. They ended up leaving camp early and say, in the months after they returned to school, their mental health took a hit.

Carr says that, beyond compensation for what they’ve been through, his clients’ goal is to ensure that no one else will experience similar abuse.

“This summer,” he said, “that goal seems accomplished.”

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