UCLA Bruin Underground Scholars Program
BUILDING A PRISON-TO-UNIVERSITY PIPELINE THROUGH
RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND ADVOCACY
In Fall 2019, the Bruin Underground Scholars program was developed to support the academic experiences of students that identify as formerly incarcerated and/or system impacted. Understanding that our students come from a plethora of walks, we honor the lived experiences of those that have dealt with the direct and indirect experiences of the carceral system.
The Bruin Underground Scholars supports building a prison-to-school pipeline through recruitment, retention, and advocacy. By creating a pathway for formerly incarcerated and system impacted individuals into higher education, we directly challenge the stigmas associated with our community. By supporting a prison-to-school pipeline, the Bruin Underground Scholars Program cultivates a healthy community and pathway for formerly incarcerated and system impacted people to thrive in higher education.
The Bruin Resource Center and the Bruin Underground Scholars Program envisions thriving, dynamic, and resilient communities of students and staff.
How We Got Here
Although students affected by incarceration have walked on our campus in the past, righteous efforts have not existed to properly support them. In 2016, several students naturally gravitated towards one other because they all shared something in common--they had experienced some sort of incarceration in the past. They understood the importance of fostering a safe community space that would understand and uplift their lived experiences, and they created a student group called the Underground Scholars Initiative (USI). However, institutional programs still did not exist to properly support our students, and continuous student advocacy later led to the implementation of the Bruin Underground Scholars program.