April 29, 2011
Last month, after extensive deliberation with student leadership, Athletics announced new plans for the student seating in renovated Pauley Pavilion. This week, the Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) decided to further explore the overall student body reaction to the seating adjustment by placing a question on the upcoming election ballot. I fully support USAC's engagement in this process and look forward to working with them as we examine the results of the question. If ultimately, a return to the previously established student section is the desire, then that is what we will do.
A vibrant student body is an important part of any college campus. The same can be said when it comes to the importance of creating a home court advantage for a college basketball program. Engaged, supportive, and uproarious student sections can ignite the home team towards victory. Since its inception, Pauley Pavilion has been blessed to host generations of students, all of whom have played a pivotal role in earning Pauley its reverential status among college venues. In step with the current renovation of Pauley Pavilion, the Athletic Department sought to improve the student attendee experience by surveying 7,800 student ticket holders and asking what changes could and should be made toward that end. Many positive outcomes derived from this effort including productive dialogue with student leaders regarding altering student seating to one continuous unified section. This idea was derived from many respondents who felt disconnected by not all being together.
As a result, we moved forward with efforts to provide an option to unify the sections. Athletics presented the concept to multiple student leadership groups on campus for their evaluation. These groups included the Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) and its president, The Wooden Board of Governors, the Rally Committee and Spirit Squad leaders as well as the leadership of The Student Den. All were shown ways to feasibly create a unified section which would be viable from the floor, adjacent to the visiting bench, behind the west basket, and continuing to the top of the Pavilion, representing 2,000 seats, an increase of about 350 seats from the current layout. If the concept was embraced by these groups, then we could act upon it prior to the seating process in renovated Pauley Pavilion this fall. If not, then the section would stay as previously planned.
In these meetings, along with several additional focus groups that were graciously organized by USAC, there was tremendous support for the concept. After reviewing the feedback, we announced the new student section plans in March with a press release that included the USAC President and others student leaders speaking about the entire process. (To read March release, click here).
On a final note, I appreciate the passion surrounding this issue. As an alumnus of UCLA, I have joyous memories of cheering on my fellow student-athletes. There was nothing else like it. I can guarantee without any reservation that we are all committed to creating the best possible memories and environment for today's team members and their fellow students.
Thank you very much and GO BRUINS!