May 12, 2023
UCLA has made the official decision to close the long-running Bruin woods camp this summer. The decision comes following a lawsuit brought by two students alleging sexual abuse and hazing.
Bruin Woods Camp, which dates back to 1985 and hosts up to 85 families of alumni per week on a campsite in Lake Arrowhead, is traditionally a 10 week initiative, according to a report from CBS News. More than 50 UCLA Students are invited to run the program and take on roles such as boat drivers, counselors, and arts and craft instructors.
For summer 2023, the camp will “place a pause” on operations as university officials investigate allegations named in the lawsuit and work on updating operations, CBS confirmed.
Bruin Woods Camp officials notified participants about the closure Friday, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
“We are aware of allegations of inappropriate activity concerning our Bruin Woods program, and continue to look into the matter,” UCLA spokesperson Margery Grey said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “We are also making changes in an effort to provide an exceptional experience for everyone.”
The temporary closure of Bruin Woods Camp comes months after UCLA students Samea Derrick and Lydia Dixon filed a lawsuit against the University of California regents in October. The two students had worked at the camp in the summer of 2022.
“In the lawsuit and in previous interviews with The Times, the pair alleged they were sexually assaulted and hazed by returning student counselors, including physical and verbal abuse, sensory deprivation, forced nudity and coercive drinking games. The lawsuit also alleged that the hazing activities, referred to by counselors as ‘traditions,’ had taken place for decades at the camp, which was established in 1985 for UCLA alumni and their families,” the Los Angeles Times said.
The sexual assault and hazing civil lawsuit alleges:
Additional details related to the sexual assault and hazing complaint include:
Further allegations included in the complaint are as follows:
The lawsuit also reportedly mentions decades worth of abuse, as referenced through a separate Daly Bruin story from 1999.
The case is set to go to trial February 8, 2024, according to the Los Angeles Times.
UC regents have denied the allegations and said that the board was not liable for damages, court documents filed in November indicate. The denial of the allegations comes despite UCLA’s commitment to implement changes at the camp, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Attorneys for the university system stated that the two plaintiff students “failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to them through the University of California’s established internal grievance procedures,” the Los Angeles Times confirmed.
“We are aware of allegations of inappropriate activity concerning our Bruin Woods program, and continue to look into the matter,” a statement from UCLA read. “We are also making changes in an effort to provide an exceptional experience for everyone.”
The Board of Regents also contended via court documents that it had taken “prompt and appropriate corrective actions” in response to the concerns of the two students.
The lawsuit is suing both the University of California regents as well as the summer camp in order to “hold the institution accountable for failing to protect its staff and fostering a toxic and dangerous workplace for young people that has been an open secret for decades,” according to CBS News.
At the time of the lawsuit’s filing, UCLA released a statement to the Daily Bruin which read:
“UCLA has zero tolerance for sexual harassment, sexual violence and hazing. When we learned of the alleged incidents earlier this year, they were referred to our Title IX Office and are being handled according to university policies and procedures. Our top priority is the well-being of our students, staff and families, and we have robust policies in place to review all claims of misconduct.”
CBS further reported that it was unclear “how long administrators believed that the camp would be closed or if they had already begun making plans for families to stay over the summer.”
Statistics offered by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) indicate that ‘college-age’ women between the ages of 18 and 24 are at an elevated risk for experiencing sexual violence.
The true pervasiveness of campus sexual violence isn’t precisely known, as many survivors do not report crimes to either school officials or law enforcement.
Here are some alarming statistics which shed light on the scope of the problem:
Whether a young person is a student or not (and regardless of their gender), this specific age category is at high risk for all types of sexual violence – sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape, harassment, etc.
According to RAINN:
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