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News in Brief – 02/28/17

By Yanit Mehta and Nicole Wong

Off-duty Police Officer Shoots Into Crowd of Teens in Anaheim

An off-duty LAPD officer shot into a crowd of teenagers in Anaheim this past week. The officer said that he fired the gun after a physical confrontation with the teenagers who he claimed trespassed on his lawn.

Anaheim police suggest that the officer has had a history of problems with teenagers walking on his property. No one was killed or wounded during the incident. Video footage of the incident gained traction on social media and led to violent protesters rallying to the Anaheim neighbourhood. Police arrested 23 people, including five youths, who are facing misdemeanor charges.

The video shows a 13-year-old boy allegedly threatening to shoot the off-duty officer, who then held the boy until APD arrived, according to Anaheim Police. That teen was arrested and booked as a juvenile for criminal threats and battery, and another boy, 15, was arrested for assault and battery. Both were later released to their parents. In one of the videos circulating online, the 13-year-old boy at the center of the encounter appears to be accusing the officer of cursing at a girl in the group of teens.

Following these incidents Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Orange County) said in response to the video footage, “First, I am grateful that no one was permanently injured. With that said, it is time for us to have a thorough, transparent and impartial investigation into yesterday’s events.”

“As an educator,” she continued in her statement, “I want to see students, parents, peace officers and elected leaders come together in an open dialogue so that we can maintain the trust and mutual respect that is so important for a healthy community. I have begun reaching out to these groups and offering my assistance toward that end.”


OC Fairgrounds to Close Over Pro-Trump Rally

The OC Fair and Events Center will be closed Mar. 25-26 over safety issues concerning a pro-Trump rally scheduled for Mar. 25. This has led to the cancellation of several scheduled events.

“We are not protesting anything about America;” organizers wrote on the Facebook event page, “we are only showing our support for it and encouragement for the change that is happening.”

According to the Southern California MAGA March Facebook page, the Make America Great Again Nationwide March is planned for March 25 from noon until 3 p.m. near Fair Drive and Fairview Road.


Erick Pineda and Jenny Truong Crowned Homecoming King and Queen

UCI played its Homecoming game against CSUN last Saturday night and won with the final score of 80-83. Erick Pineda and Jenny Truong were crowned Homecoming king and queen during half-time.

Truong is a fourth-year economics and political science double major with a minor in accounting. She is a Campus Representative, member of UCI’s dance team, Modern Completely Insane Anteaters (MCIA) and also a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority on campus. She was also the Academic Senator in the Office of Academic Affairs in her second year as well as a University Studies Discussion Leader in her third year.

Pineda is an international studies major who was on Kababayan board at UCI for two years and currently serves as a dance coordinator for the annual Pilipinx American Cultural Night. He just concluded his term as Phi Delta Theta President and is also a Mesa Court Resident Assistant.


Diane Guerrero Speaks on Immigration Issues

Actress Diane Guerrero, known for her roles on hit shows like Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, discussed her own immigration experience to a crowd of UCI students on Feb. 22 in the Pacific Ballroom.

Geurrero was born in New Jersey to Colombian immigrant parents who were deported back to Colombia when she was 14. As the only one in her family with U.S. citizenship, she was left behind and taken in by other families. She wrote about her experience in her new book “In the Country We Love: My Family Divided,” which she also talked about during her event.


Various UCI Organizations Provide Healing Space for Sexual Assault Victims

In response to the Conservative Student Union’s “Campus Rape Hysteria” event  on campus on Feb. 23, empathetic UCI departments and student groups organized a safe space to comfort sexual assault victims and survivors on Thursday, Feb. 23 in Social Sciences Towers 777 at 7 p.m.

The event was not meant as a protest. It’s intent was not to limit or silence anyone but  to support sexual violence survivors and people of all identities and communities. Several art and meditation activities were available for all attendees.


UCI Senior named 2016 Study in Spain Student Ambassador

Kristen Ha, a UCI senior in international studies and comparative literature, has been named the Study in Spain Student Ambassador of the Year for 2016 by the Embassy of Spain-Trade Commission Miami. She was recognized for her work promoting Spain as a destination for Study Abroad programs and her knowledge of  Spain.

In a ceremony held on Feb. 16, Ha received a diploma issued by the Spanish Embassy and a one week trip to Spain. The Spanish consul general, Francisco Javier Vallaure de Acha was also present at the ceremony.


UCI Named 2017 Social Mobility Innovator

UC Irvine was named the fourth of ten CollegeNET Social Mobility Innovators for 2017 on Feb. 22.

The Social Mobility Index, created by CollegeNET, Inc., ranks four-year U.S. colleges and universities based on their success in enrolling and graduating students from low-income families. UCI has been ranked in the top 20 for the past two years.

UCI was recognized for its unique and personalized approach to help students as soon as they arrive on campus. In a Yahoo Finance article, Michael Dennin, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education, stated, “We blend centralized support across the entire campus with a wide range of decentralized support at the department and school levels.”

The system has proved effective. UCI has a 93 percent one-year retention rate and a 70 percent four-year graduation rate.


UCI Faculty Members Named Sloan Research Fellows

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded Sloan Research Fellowships to 22 UC scholars including two UC Irvine assistant professors.

Shane Ardo and Katherine Mackey were recognized for their work in chemistry and ocean sciences respectively. They will each receive $60,000 to continue their research.

Fellowships were also awarded to faculty members from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz.


UC SHIP Looking to Cover Surgery for Transgender Students

UC representatives met to discuss and vote on adding breast augmentation for transgender students to UC SHIP at a meeting last Tuesday.

The vote was eventually tabled until more data can be collected. UC SHIP currently only covers female to male transgender surgeries including breast removal. UC Berkeley, which has insurance under Anthem instead of UC SHIP, already offers the surgery under their plan.

UC SHIP staff hopes to add the surgery by the 2018-2019 academic year but has yet to make a decision.