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We call homelessness a crisis in Los Angeles because we increasingly see the homeless in our midst every day. Yet, the invisible crisis has been with us for years, affecting even many UCLA students and staff. New Los Angeles City and County initiatives promise to meet the challenge of homelessness head on, but success will depend on the quality of evidence and information informing these investments. We believe UCLA can and should play a role in this effort, and that begins with learning more about the crisis and the response, and laying out a research agenda.

To galvanize transdisciplinary research and engage our campus with efforts across LA County, UCLA will host Professor Dennis Culhane of the University of Pennsylvania from May 21 – 24, 2018.  One of the nation’s most influential homelessness scholars, Professor Culhane pioneered the use of homeless management information systems (HMIS) and integrated data systems to study homelessness, and generated much of the evidence base that led to permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing policies. Professor Culhane will lead a week-long series of activities to help focus UCLA’s research and student communities on one the most pressing humanitarian crises facing our city.

The homelessness week is supported by a grant from the Office for Interdisciplinary and Cross Campus Affairs and co-sponsored by the Fielding School of Public Health, California Center for Population Research, and the California Policy Lab. Organized by Professors Randall Kuhn (Community Health Sciences) and Till von Wachter (Economics) the week includes four major events also described on the event website.

First, the week will kick off with a public lecture by Professor Culhane on “Meeting the Challenge of Homelessness” on May 21st. The lecture will be opened by Dean Jody Heymann from the Fielding School of Public Health. In this lecture, Culhane will review the national situation, including progress and continued hurdles. He will also describe unique challenges for cities like LA, where many homeless are unsheltered.

The second event is a roundtable discussion on the “Homelessness Research Agenda in LA and Beyond” on May 22nd.  For students, faculty, researchers, and others interested in having a direct impact on homelessness, this Roundtable will describe current City and County research priorities and unmet needs, and will highlight areas for UCLA contribution. The roundtable will be introduced by Dean Gary Segura from the Luskin School of Public Policy, and includes Molly Rysman, Deputy for Homelessness for the Third Supervisory District of the County, who will talk about the County’s research needs on homelessness; Janey Rountree, Executive Director of the California Policy Lab, who will talk about the new Countywide Homelessness Research Policy Initiative; Michael Lens, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy; and Till von Wachter, Professor of Economics, who will talk about opportunities policy-oriented research on homelessness at UCLA.

On Wednesday, May 23rd, Professor Culhane will lead a seminar on “The Promise of Integrated Data Systems for Social Science Research.” Culhane will review the legal, ethical, scientific and economic challenges of interagency data sharing, as well as systematic efforts including policy reform and inter-agency collaboration to overcome these challenges. He will also review important new integrated data systems initiatives in LA County and California.

Finally, the week will conclude with a mini-conference on “Transdisciplinary Homelessness Research: Measure H and Beyond.” Topics include pathways into and out of homelessness over the life-course. Articulating new service delivery models and data collection, including mobile phones as a platform for outreach. The conference will also feature a round table on how to sustain the interdisciplinary conversation through a campus-wide research network, regular working groups, and joint research projects.

Schedule of Events of Homelessness Week

Public Lecture: Meeting the Challenge of Homelessness

Monday, May 21, 2018
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
UCLA NPI Auditorium CHS C8-183

Register

Roundtable: Homeless Research Agenda in L.A. and Beyond

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240
Social Mixer to follow: UCLA Public Affairs Building, Luskin Commons Patio 3rd Floor

Register

Seminar: The Promise of Integrated Data Systems for Social Science Research

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240

Conference: Transdisciplinary Homelessness Research: Measure H and Beyond

Thursday, May 24, 2018
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240

 

For more information about Homelessness Week, click HERE

For more information about the California Policy Lab (CPL), click HERE

For more information about the California Center for Population Research (CCPR), click HERE

John Vande Wege/UCLA

May 16, 2018

Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, Associate Professor of Political Science, was recently profiled by the PBS NewsHour to discuss her important work with UCLA’s first-generation college students.  This new retention initiative connects first-generation faculty with first-generation college students to guide them along their educational pathways.  In this effort, Professor Frasure-Yokley teaches Fiat Lux courses and mentors first-generation students, in order to increase their persistence, improve their sense of belonging, and ensure that they graduate.  Watch the full interview and news segment HERE.

May 15, 2018

Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez and Million Dollar Hoods will be honored by the Los Angeles Community Action Network with a Freedom Now Award for their groundbreaking digital mapping project that uses police data to monitor incarceration costs in Los Angeles. The 8th Annual “Freedom Now” Awards and Celebration will take place on June 16, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 838 E. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021.

For more details, click HERE

By Abigail C. Saguy

Professor of Sociology, UCLA

In late 2017, over 30 women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault or rape. Shortly after—following the lead of actress Alyssa Milano—millions of women began posting “#MeToo” on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and other social media platforms, effectively “coming out” as victims of sexual harassment, assault or rape. As Milano acknowledges, “Me Too” isn’t new: African American activist Tarana Burke first used “Me Too” in 2007 as part of an offline campaign to let sex abuse survivors–especially young women of color—know that they were not alone. Milano says she hopes the social media campaign will shift the focus from Weinstein to victims and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

The #MeToo movement underscores the power of collective mobilization. It also shows how suddenly the status quo can shift. Despite having studied sexual harassment in the United States and France for almost 30 years – and publishing a book and several articles on the topic[1] – even I did not see this coming.

Recently, I have been studying how people “come out” to resist stigma and mobilize for social change. As I show in a series of articles and a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press titled Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are: Identity Politics in the 21st Century, the concept of coming out—first developed by the gay rights movement in the 1970s—has expanded well beyond lesbians and gay men. The undocumented movement, fat rights movement, and Mormon fundamentalist polygamists—to name a few—all now use “coming out” politics to make real changes to laws, public opinion, interpersonal relationships and to claim their civil rights.

Notably, the #MeToo movement embraces not just the politics of “coming out” as a victim of sexual harassment or assault, but also the “outing” of harassers, assaulters and rapists. “Outing”—another term coined and developed by the gay rights movement in the 1980s and 1990s—originally referred to the act of disclosing a politician or celebrity’s homosexuality, typically because they publicly opposed gay rights or promoted heteronormativity (i.e. the idea that everyone is heterosexual) by “passing” as straight.

#MeToo has already led to significant change in the culture around sexual harassment and assault. Many of the men recently “outed” as sexual offenders have lost their jobs and, in some cases, faced criminal prosecution. Some have argued that employers and authors may now take women who claim to have been assaulted or harassed more seriously. The movement may bring real systemic changes to how employers and courts address sexual harassment.

Exactly what will come of the #MeToo movement remains to be seen, but this movement—and the others of which it is both a product and a part—are a reminder that the social life of humans is fluid and deserving of true inquiry by social scientists.

Abigail Saguy is a UCLA Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies and author of What is Sexual Harassment? From Capitol Hill to the Sorbonne (California, 2003), What’s Wrong with Fat (Oxford, 2013), Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are: Identity Politics in the 21st Century, over 30 scientific journal articles and several op-eds published in leading news outlets. You can see more of her work at www.abigailsaguy.com and https://soc.ucla.edu/faculty/abigail-saguy.

Footnotes

[1] Abigail C. Saguy, What Is Sexual Harassment? From Capitol Hill to the Sorbonne (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press., 2003); “Employment Discrimination or Sexual Violence?: Defining Sexual Harassment in American, and French Law,” Law & Society Review 34, no. 4 (2000); “Europeanization or National Specificity? Legal Approaches to Sexual Harassment in France, 2002-2012,” Law & Society Review 52, no. 1 (2018).

The UCLA Alumni Association will be honoring several distinguished alumni for their contributions to UCLA and beyond at this year’s alumni awards on June 2.  Among the honorees are several alumni from the Division of Social Sciences, including:

Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi, marathoner and Olympic medalist, who graduated with a bachelor’s in communication studies in 1999, and is this year’s recipient of the UCLA Award for Professional Achievement.

Angela Sanchez, who graduated with a bachelor’s in history in 2013 and a master’s degree in education with a focus in student affairs in 2015, will be receiving the UCLA Award for Community Service for her important work assisting K–12 homeless students in navigating postsecondary education.

Mark Stull, who graduated with a bachelor’s in political science in 1971, will be honored with the UCLA Award for Alumni Volunteer of the Year for his work as an active board leader in the UCLA Club of San Diego and as a vice chair of the San Diego Chancellor’s Society Board.

For information about the awardees, click here, and for more information about the alumni awards ceremony, click here.

 

May 4, 2018

Assistant Professor Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, of the UCLA Division of Social Sciences’ California Center for Population Research (CCPR) and Department of Community Health Sciences, was recently awarded the Early Achievement Award from the Population Association of America (PAA) at the 2018 Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address Session. The PAA Early Achievement Award recognizes distinguished contributions to population research during the first ten years after receipt of the Ph.D. Contributions may be original research published as articles or books, significant newly collected data, or public policy achievement that broadens the impact of demography.

The award citation commended Dr. Beltran-Sanchez’s original contributions in all three areas: his innovative development of theory and rigorous research, his leadership in creating the Latin American Mortality Database, and the direct relevance of his research for public policy.  More specifically, Dr. Beltran-Sanchez’s research addresses major themes at CCPR, including the health of immigrants, the effects of early life experiences on health in late life, and health and aging in Mexico, and the development and application of demographic methods to investigate health inequalities using macro and micro data. This year he has been involved in CCPR’s informal working group on demography and big data, in addition to teaching in the graduate demography program and serving on several major CCPR committees.

May 4, 2018

Last week, Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, professor of History and African American Studies and the interim director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, along with Associate Professor Chandra Ford, Chancellor Gene Block, and UCLA students, journeyed to Sacramento to meet with members of the California Legislative Black Caucus. There they discussed Million Dollar Hoods and the policy interventions and solutions that can be implemented to improve Los Angeles and advance justice reinvestment campaigns. Connecting research to actionable policy is a major objective of Million Dollar Hoods and Professor Lytle Hernandez’s work.

 

Related post: Mapping LA’s Million Dollar Hoods

 

By Joseph H. Manson

Professor of Anthropology

Among our acquaintances and co-workers are the calm and the worried, the conscientious and the disorganized, the kind and the callous. Is there an overall pattern to the variation among these and other personality dimensions? And can this pattern be linked to people’s biological characteristics, such as how fast they grow up and how quickly they age? My research explores personality variation using “life history theory,” an evolutionary biological framework that describes and explains how people decide to dedicate their time and energy between the competing demands of physical growth, health maintenance, dating and parenting. A “slower” life history strategy (LHS) means investment in long-term health maintenance, monogamous relationships and a more nurturing, involved approach to parenting. In terms of personality traits, this slower LHS is usually associated with people who exhibit higher levels of conscientiousness, agreeableness and emotional stability.

Previous data collection in this area has relied almost exclusively on questionnaires. My current project will use direct behavioral observation to supplement and validate these “self-report measures,” in order to determine whether some of these traits often appear together in sets and clusters. I recruited 92 UCLA students to spend three days wearing an iPod running the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) app, which made a 30-second audio recording every 12.5 minutes between 6 a.m. and midnight. Participants knew the overall sampling pattern, but not the particular times when the app was recording. They also kept an hourly event diary noting their general activities. At the end of the three-day recording period, participants had the opportunity to listen privately to their audio clips and to delete any they wished (only about 1% were deleted). Participants also completed two self-report personality inventories and a questionnaire developed by other researchers, which purports to measure LHS.

One team of undergraduate research assistants coded the 21,000+ audio clips for over 40 activities and behaviors, including class attendance, arguing and watching TV or video. We also transcribed every intelligible word (almost 80,000 of them) of the participants’ speech. A second team of research assistants used each participant’s complete set of clips and event diary as the basis for describing their personality using an instrument called the California Adult Q-Sort (CAQ).

My analyses of these data confirm that people whose personality most closely resembles a slow LHS CAQ template (created by other researchers) are high in conscientiousness, agreeableness and emotional stability. However, in contrast to some earlier claims, the other two major dimensions of personality – extraversion and openness to experience – have more complicated relationships to LHS. For example: among the facets of extraversion, interpersonal warmth was associated with a slower LHS, whereas excitement-seeking was associated with a faster LHS. I also found LHS-related differences in word use: for example, people with a faster LHS use more “negative emotion words.” As a follow-up, my research assistants are now coding participants’ inferred emotional states directly from isolated audio clips. Other ongoing analyses are exploring the relationships of self-reported levels of the so-called “Dark Triad” traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) to both LHS and everyday social interaction patterns.

Joseph H. Manson, a Professor in the Anthropology Department, is an evolutionary social scientist interested in primate behavior, human ethology and social interaction, and personality variation.

 

milliondollarhoods.org

By Kelly Lytle Hernandez

Professor of History and African-American Studies

Los Angeles County operates the largest jail system on Earth. At a cost of nearly $1 billion annually, more than 20,000 people are caged every night in county jails and city lockups. Conventional wisdom says that incarceration advances public safety by removing violent and serious offenders from the streets – but the data shows that isn’t necessarily true.

According to Million Dollar Hoods (MDH), a digital mapping project that uses police data to monitor incarceration costs in Los Angeles, not all neighborhoods are equally impacted by L.A.’s massive jail system. In fact, L.A.’s nearly billion-dollar jail budget is largely committed to incarcerating many people from just a few neighborhoods, in some of which more than $1 million is spent annually on incarceration. Leading causes of arrest in these areas are primarily drug possession and DUIs, and the majority of those arrested are black, brown and poor.

The bottom line: the data shows that local authorities are investing millions in locking up the county’s most economically vulnerable, geographically isolated and racially marginalized populations for drug and alcohol-related crimes. These are L.A.’s “Million Dollar Hoods.” Maybe they deserve more.

Additional information on “Million Dollar Hoods” (MDH):

Launched in summer 2016, MDH is an ongoing collaboration between UCLA researchers and local community-based organizations, including Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Dignity and Power Now, JusticeLA and more. Together, we conceptualized the project, acquired the data and mapped it, making a wealth of data broadly available to advocates and activists who are pressing local authorities to divest from police and jails and invest in the community-based services needed to build a more equitable community: namely health, housing, employment, and educational services. To date, the MDH maps and reports have received significant media coverage and are being marshaled by advocates to advance a variety of justice reinvestment campaigns.  Our research on cannabis enforcement shaped the development of the city’s social equity program. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty references our research in his report on the criminalization of homelessness in America. Our report on the money bail system was the first to document how the money bail system amounts to asset stripping in Black and Latino Los Angeles.

Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez (History/African American Studies) leads the Million Dollar Hoods project. Her research team is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of UCLA staff and students, including Danielle Dupuy (School of Public Health), Terry Allen (Graduate School of Education), Isaac Bryan (Luskin School of Public Policy), Jamil Cineus (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Marcelo Clarke (African American Studies/Sociology), Chibumkem Ezenekwe, Luz Flores (African American Studies), Oceana Gilliam (Luskin School of Public Policy), Harold Grigsby (African American Studies), Andrew Guerrero (International Development Studies), Sofia Espinoza (Luskin School of Public Policy), Yoh Kawano (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Albert Kochaphum (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Ricardo Patlan (Political Science),  Alvin Teng (Luskin School of Public Policy), Taylore Thomas (African American Studies), and Estefania Zavala (Luskin School of Public Policy).

 

Related post: Million Dollar Hoods Goes to Sacramento