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THE TRITON independent, student-run news source at the University of California, San Diego
December 14, 2020

The Current: A Year In Review

Ella Chen, Editor-in-Chief of The Triton

Hello!

It's finals season! Thankfully, we all get a few weeks to sit back and relax before Winter Quarter comes. Folks, we’ve made it! It’s the end of the year, and before we know it, it will be 2021. 

I would like to encourage everyone to stay safe and healthy during the holidays. I am aware that many of us may not be able to celebrate like we usually do, and some of us won’t be able to spend time with loved ones because of the pandemic. I hope that even during these times, you are all able to stay connected virtually. Even though celebrating the holidays over FaceTime and Zoom are not ideal, I hope that it still brings you a smile despite everything happening right now. 

As we look into the next year, my staff and I are committed to bringing you the most current news updates and information regarding campus and response to the pandemic. We would like to thank you for your continued support of The Triton, because without readers like you, we wouldn’t have anyone to report news to! If there are stories you’d like to learn more about or something you think is worth us investigating, please never hesitate to reach out to us. You can always contact me at editor@triton.news, and if you’d like to meet face-to-face, I will continue holding office hours on Zoom once the quarter begins. You can also find us on social media @Triton_News on Twitter, @triton_news on Instagram, and @thetritonnews on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you!

As always, I hope that you take some time for yourself in the next few weeks. Whether it’s taking a self-care day or doing something small and intimate, I want you to remember that you are valid, worthy, and important. And above all, your mental and physical health matters. Wishing you the very best this holiday season! We’ll catch you next year. 

Always investigating,

Ella Chen

Editor-in-Chief 2020-21

NEWS UPDATES

Photo courtesy of Brian Asare // Unsplash

Even though the quarter is coming to a close, our news team is still hard at work covering stories remotely and on campus. Here’s the tea:

  • Although the rate of accepted Native Americans into the UCSD School of Medicine is the highest in history, this is only one step in the right direction. The Association of Native American Medical Students sent a letter to all medical schools in the UC system to implement policies that would increase the acceptance rate of Native American students into UC medical schools. Advocates hope that it will increase the enrollment of Native American students in medical schools. 
  • Food alert! Now that the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood is towering in the north end of campus, the vacant spaces will  be filled with new restaurants. UCSD just announced that six restaurants will be filling the vacancies. Among them are a ramen place, a plant-based cafe, and Middle-eastern street food. Time to try some new places while adhering to social distancing protocols in 2021!

  • One of the most celebrated researchers on campus, Nobel Laureate Mario Molina passed away this quarter at the age of 77. Molina was known for discovering the damage of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to the ozone layer in the atmosphere. His research efforts were vital in the signing of the Montreal Protocol, where 150 countries agreed to reduce the use of CFCs. 

On The Flip Side 

Photo Courtesy of Kristina Stahl / The Triton 

Although the News section supplies the factual angles of its stories, what's on the other side of news this week?

OPINION:

 

  • In the latest piece of her column The Sauce, Arts and Culture Assistant Editor Kiyahna Brown describes her journey to read more books this summer in quarantine. She explores the world of Black literature and includes some of the titles she’s read, including critically-acclaimed book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
  • The third piece of my column, Ellamentally Yours, was released last week. In this article, I write about my journey reconciling my physical health with my mental health. Content warning: suicide, depression, anxiety, self-harm

Graphic Courtesy of Kristina Stahl

What's been going on in the Arts and Culture section all these weeks? Check it out:

ARTS AND CULTURE:

Are you looking for something to do at home during quarantine? Now that restaurants in California have shut down, you’re probably wondering what you should do on some of your spare nights. The Triton has compiled a list of movies to stream if you’re at home with some free time. Here are some options available both on Hulu and Netflix: https://triton.news/2020/11/movies-to-stream-while-youre-stuck-at-home/.

A Year In Review
Photos courtesy of the Kristina Stahl / The Triton 

What happened this year? In case you missed anything or need a refresher, here’s our recap of the biggest events in 2020 at UCSD. 

Winter Quarter 

  • During Winter Quarter 2020, graduate students across the UC system demonstrated for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). Beginning at UC Santa Cruz, graduate student TAs authorized grading strikes and organized protests across all UC campuses to bring attention to the issue. Some graduate students at UC Santa Cruz were terminated as a result of the grading strike, but the strike was terminated in the spring following the tensions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Despite the numerous resource centers present on campus, there has never been a Transfer Resource Center at UCSD. In February, the Transfer Success Hub in the Biomedical Library’s Event Room was opened. Ultimately, the resource center will be relocated to the Pepper Canyon Neighborhood, which will be the new site of transfer student housing in 2022. 

  • As COVID-19 cases began to rise rapidly through February and early March across the country, universities had to respond regarding their plans for the spring. UCSD was one of the first UCs to respond with a fully-remote courseload for Spring Quarter 2020. Classes have been held remotely since then. 

Spring Quarter

  • As part of its Return to Learn program, UCSD implemented widespread, recurrent COVID-19 testing during the spring. As one of the leading academic health systems in the COVID-19 clinical trials and viral research, UCSD has been at the forefront of drug therapies, novel discoveries and understanding of COVID-19. Before students returned to campus for fall housing, widespread testing was expanded to all returning students and staff in order to prevent any large outbreaks on campus. Quarantine protocols were also set in place to isolate any individuals that test positive.

  • In a monumental vote, the UC Board of Regents voted in May to phase out standardized testing. Beginning this admissions cycle, the UC system will no longer require the ACT or SAT for admissions. In the next five years, a committee will work on creating a UC-specific standardized test, but if no test is approved at the end of the probationary period, it is likely standardized testing will be completely phased out of UC admissions. 

  • During the May 20 meeting, Associated Students of UCSD (ASUCSD) voted to reallocate funds for COVID-19 relief. Approximately $1 million was allocated to financially aid students severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds were redistributed from other departments in AS. 

Summer

  • Following the period of civil unrest in June, ASUCSD approved a resolution in mid-June calling for the defunding of the UC Police Department. The resolution also requests the defunding of the UCSD Police Department. The UC Office of the President instead adopted the 8 Can’t Wait Campaign, which was a new approach to curbing police violence but widely criticized as signatory and ineffective. 

  • At their July meeting, the UC Board of Regents unanimously elected Dr. Michael V. Drake as the next UC President and successor of former President, Janet Napolitano, who resigned last year. Drake is the first Black president of the UC system. 

  • In response to social movements such as #Black Lives Matter during the summer, UCSD’s Black Student Union (BSU) drafted a statement of demands that they sent to UCSD administration and departments in July. The last statement of demands from the BSU was released in 2010 following the events of UCSD’s Black Winter and Compton Cookout. Of all the departments that were sent the demands, only the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) responded directly. 

Fall Quarter 

  • Following the COVID-19 pandemic, UCSD changed the housing students of all students to dependents, which affected the aid that many students received from the Financial Aid Office. Many financial aid packages were reduced, and students had difficulty contacting the office to change their status. 

  • Although this is UCSD’s first year as a Division I school in the Big West Conference, all fall sports competitions have been postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of Athletics is still debating whether fall sports will be held in the spring, as this will depend on the availability of facilities and the state of the pandemic. 

  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, remote work at UCSD has been extended until the end of Winter Quarter 2021. UCSD Department of Human Resources released the statement to employees on October 20, saying that the extension was given so employees have more time to make decisions about distance learning, caregiving, etc. This extension is part of the Return to Learn plan to reduce population density on campus. 

What We're Reading

 

What’s going on outside of campus? Here’s what’s been keeping us current. 

  • Following the latest shutdown orders from the California governor’s office, San Diego restaurants and attractions prepare to shutter their windows for a 3-week closure as cases rise across the state and country. 

  • This year has marked the worst year of California wildfires yet. Burning since September, the fires have torched 4.2 million acres of land. Red flag warnings and alerts of high winds have been sent out across the state. Without critical rainfall, the fires have the potential to burn through December. 

  • News outlets have reported that the Trump Administration passed pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s offer to sell the government additional doses of their COVID-19. Pfizer also recently announced that it may not be able to supply the U.S. until June 2021 because of its commitments to other countries. President Trump has announced that he plans to sign an executive order that will ensure the vaccine will be prioritized for Americans, but it is unsure how effective the order will be. 

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Content Copyright © 2016-2019 The Triton. The Triton is not in anyway affiliated with UC San Diego and the opinions expressed therein are not the overall public opinions of UCSD, ASUCSD, or our staff. Materials produced by The Triton do not reflect the views of the Regents of the University of California and the Regents do not endorse, warrant, or otherwise take responsibility for said content. Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Triton Editorial Board.

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