Two UCLA students sue alumni summer camp after forced drinking, sexual assault, ‘dangerous’ hazing

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Two UCLA students who were hired to serve as counselors at a UCLA graduate summer camp are now suing Bruin Camp after they were allegedly exposed to Violent harassment and abuse.

Sammy Derek, 19, and Lydia Dixon, 20, were two of about 53. Student Advisers at University of Californiaincluding about 30 new and 20 returning consultants, were hired to work at Bruin Woods over the summer but left after a week of what they described as “unbearable living conditions” and abuse disguised as decades-old tradition.

Scott Carr, attorney for plaintiffs at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, told Fox Digital News in a statement. “We have brought this lawsuit to expose the dangerous and harmful behavior at Bruin Woods and to hold UC Regents accountable for allowing it to fester for decades.”

“Sexual violence, sexual harassment and harassment of any kind are reprehensible and intolerable,” UCLA said in a statement.

Sammy Derek, 19, and Lydia Dixon, 20, left UCLA’s Bruin camp after a week of what they described as “unbearable living conditions” and abuse disguised as decades-old traditions.
(Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP)

“When we became aware of the alleged incidents earlier this year, they were referred to our Title IX office and are being dealt with in accordance with the university’s policies and procedures,” the school said. “We cannot comment further on the details of these matters because we want to protect the privacy of participants. Our highest priority is the well-being of our students, staff and families, and we have strong policies in place in order to review all allegations of misconduct.”

Bruin Woods was established in 1985 as a haven for UCLA alumni and their families It currently employs about 50 UCLA students each year to work as boat drivers, lifeguards, age counselors, outdoor activity coaches, arts and crafts instructors, etc.

Samiya Derek was photographed at Camp Bruin with another counsel who was not part of the lawsuit.

Samiya Derek was photographed at Camp Bruin with another counsel who was not part of the lawsuit.
(Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP.)

The lawsuit states that the jobs are “highly desirable” because they offer “an opportunity to develop alumni relationships that can lead to future success.”

And while traditions like skinny-dipping have been around for a long time, Derek and Dixon say they’ve experienced much worse, including sleep deprivation, food deprivation, inability to lock dorm doors, forced isolation, prohibited cell phone use, insufficient rest periods, dehydration, harassment and intimidation .

“Furthermore, as part of their work, the plaintiffs and other new employees were forced to participate in various BRUIN WOODS traditions that included physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse that amounted to harassment,” the lawsuit states.

Lydia Dixon is pictured at the camp with other counselors who are not in the suit.

Lydia Dixon is pictured at the camp with other counselors who are not in the suit.
(Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP.)

Traditions included “coercive use of alcohol,” “physical abuse and sensory deprivation,” “enforced nudity,” “threats,” and “sexual assault.”

In one case, while driving to camp, new counselors were forced to drink alcohol before being driven down winding roads and encouraged not to vomit.

In one case, while driving to camp, new counselors were forced to drink alcohol before being driven down winding roads and encouraged not to vomit.

In one case, while driving to camp, new counselors were forced to drink alcohol before being driven down winding roads and encouraged not to vomit.
(Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP)

On a different evening, Dixon lost consciousness from drinking too much alcohol and was sexually assaulted by a male counselor in her sleep, the two women told Los Angeles Times. Prosecutors allege that “forced nudity was a recurring experience in the first week of official work.”

The packing list for new counselors includes fake under-21 identification, condoms and birth control, according to the lawsuit.

In another example of abuse, plaintiffs were forced to walk to a warehouse in the camp without shoes and pillows over their heads. The lawsuit says they then had to raise their arms until they missed the course.

Finally, prosecutors say they were not allowed to contact friends or family. The complaint said they left after a week of the 11-week program.

Dixon and Derek are seeking $50,000 in compensation for physical and emotional damages they say they suffered due to alleged camp neglect, hazing, gender violence, assault, battery, willful infliction of emotional distress, and Bane and Ralph Act violations.

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