Courtesy of LA Times
Courtesy of LA Times

University student wins million dollar lawsuit

On July 31, 2013, a 23-year-old UC San Diego student was awarded $4.1 million in a lawsuit after being left in a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cell for five days. Cut off from food, water and bathroom use, Daniel Chong lost 15 pounds and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident.

On April 21, 2012, Chong was one of nine people arrested at a party, after the DEA confiscated marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and 18,000 ecstasy pills.

Chong was held in a 5-by-10 concrete cell, which was separated from the rest of the government department. He pleaded for help, but no one came until April 25, 2012. By then, he suffered from hallucinations, which led him to drink his own urine, consume narcotics he found on the floor and attempt to commit suicide by swallowing broken shards from his glasses. Discovered by DEA staff, Chong was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was diagnosed with severe dehydration, kidney near-failure and a punctured lung from the consumption of glass.

Days after the incident, the DEA issued an apology and ordered an “extensive review” of governmental procedures. Chong’s attorney, Julia Yoo, said that he has since returned to his university, where he is pursuing a degree in economics.

UCR to launch art history Ph.D.

The establishment of an art history graduate program is making its way to UC Riverside come fall of 2014. “The doctoral program will offer interdisciplinary training across the history of art, with special strengths in the history of photography, sculpture and architecture,” according to UCR’s art history department homepage.

According to CHASS Dean Stephen Cullenberg, the UC Academic Senate granted passage of the Ph.D. in art history, which is intended to increase UCR’s liberal arts graduate programs. The art history department specializes in the early medieval to Renaissance period, along with present-day Asian, European and American art and architecture.

The art history major was first taught alongside the department of art when the university was first founded in 1954. Two decades later, the major became a separate department within the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS).

“The department is known for its expertise in the history of art and architecture in the medieval, early modern and modern periods in Asia, Europe and the Americas, with many of its faculty considered leading researchers in their fields. The doctorate will prepare students for positions in academia as well as other careers in museums, galleries and the arts world,” according to a press release provided by Patricia Morton, chair of the art history department.

Admissions applications will be due on Jan. 5, 2014.

Governor Brown passes transgender act


Gov. Jerry Brown signed a historic transgender bill permitting transgender students access to programs, sports teams and public facilities at public schools according to the gender they identify with.

California is the first in the nation to pass a statewide law, which covers the state’s 6.2 million elementary and high school students in public schools. The measure passed the state Assembly, 46-25, on May 9, and the state Senate, 21-9, on July 3. Other states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington and Colorado have already implemented policies to protect the rights of transgender youths.

More conservative groups, like the Pacific Justice Group — a religious right-wing watch group — are interested in allowing biology to determine whether certain sexes are allowed to use which facilities. At the same time, they argue there may be possible privacy invasion with youths who abuse the new law.

The bill was supported by Equality America, the American Civil Liberties Union and the San Francisco and Los Angeles school districts, along with the California State Parent-Teacher Association.