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Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition requests higher pay, union recognition

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Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition requests higher pay, union recognition


The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition has requested higher pay and union recognition in a letter, asking for a response by Jan. 29. The requests went unanswered. The group is considering a strike to win its demands.

The IGWC passed a resolution of no confidence Feb. 5,  only IU’s Board of Trustees can authorize union recognition. The group has 1,300 card-carrying members this semester and has never gone on strike without full membership approval.

The IGWC has campaigned for union recognition since 2021 and kicked off its most recent campaign with a “More say, more pay” rally last September.

They demanded higher pay based on MIT’s Living Wage Calculator and union recognition. The calculator estimates living wages based on full-time work. Grad workers fulfill Student Academic Appointee (SAA) duties while conducting research and pursuing their degrees full time. Ali said they are expected to not have another job, and some students – such as international students – are forbidden from having other jobs.

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Before the union sent their January letter to Whitten, the Dean of Bloomington’s Graduate School David Daleke announced a new minimum stipend of $23,000 for a half-time, 10-month SAA appointment.

In 2022, about 1,000 members went on strike for union recognition and the removal of fees. In August 2022, the Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav announced IU waived mandatory fees and raised the minimum SAA stipend by 46 percent to $22,000.

The IGWC said in a press release living wages in Bloomington should be about $28,000 for 10-month contracts and about $34,000 for 12-month contracts.



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Indiana State Prisoners Could Soon Access Pell Grants for Education, Training Through Ivy Tech

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Indiana State Prisoners Could Soon Access Pell Grants for Education, Training Through Ivy Tech


Ivy Tech Madison was selected by the IDOC to offer adult education and vocational services at Indiana’s 15 adult correctional facilities across the state.

INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community College today announced the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) has approved two of its programs for federal Pell Grants for prison education. If approved by the U.S. Department of Education and Ivy Tech’s accrediting agencies, people incarcerated in Indiana state prisons will have the opportunity to access need-based financial aid for high-quality education and training aligned to Indiana’s high-wage, high-demand workforce sectors, such as business, manufacturing, logistics and automotive.

Ivy Tech will collaborate with IDOC to ensure graduates are placed in employment with felony-friendly employers seeking skilled workers. Graduates of short-term certificate programs will have the opportunity to further their education at any one of Ivy Tech’s 19 campuses and 41 sites statewide.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, students enrolled in approved prison education programs (PEPs) are now eligible for federal Pell Grants under the FAFSA Simplification Act. Indiana is one of the first states to participate in the expansion of Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals.

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“Ivy Tech is committed to providing accessible, affordable and high-quality education to all Hoosiers, including those who are justice involved or incarcerated,” said Dr. Sue Ellspermann, president, Ivy Tech Community College. “Helping incarcerated individuals earn postsecondary credentials of value not only reduces recidivism, increases employment, supports successful reentry and enhances public safety, it also reflects our ideals as a nation of second chances and limitless possibilities. Ivy Tech is Indiana’s workforce engine and provides stackable credentials that allow these Hoosiers to continue their education after release as well.”

The Indiana Department of Correction approved two business administration certificates offered by Ivy Tech Madison and Ivy Tech Terre Haute’s automotive technology technical certificate for Pell Grant eligibility. The U.S. Department of Education and Ivy Tech’s accrediting agencies must also approve the programs before individuals in prison can apply for and receive financial aid for them.

Ivy Tech has a long history of serving justice-involved adults and youth in Indiana. In 2021, Ivy Tech Madison was selected by the IDOC to offer adult education and vocational services at Indiana’s 15 adult correctional facilities across the state. Each year, more than 5,000 people currently or previously incarcerated in Indiana have received high-quality instruction in fields such as logistics, welding, cosmetology, hospitality and culinary arts, building trades, and English literacy through Ivy Tech. Ivy Tech and the IDOC also offer skills training programs at 8 sites statewide equipping soon to be released offenders with an industry certification aligned to employer demand for entry-level skilled workers.

Prison education programs have shown to reduce recidivism rates, increase employment rates and create meaningful opportunities for rehabilitation among incarcerated people. What’s more, these programs have also been proven to positively transform the culture and climate of correctional facilities — enhancing the health and safety of people who reside and work there.

“For incarcerated individuals, having the opportunity to earn a college certificate has the potential to permanently change the trajectory of their lives,” says Christina Reagle, commissioner, Indiana Department of Correction. “These two programs will not only positively impact individuals while they are incarcerated but will set them up for success when they are released back into the community.”

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Still no harvest: Marijuana bills continue to stall in Indiana General Assembly – Indianapolis Business Journal

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Still no harvest: Marijuana bills continue to stall in Indiana General Assembly – Indianapolis Business Journal


To some, it seemed like the 2023 session of the Indiana General Assembly marked a turning point for marijuana-related legislation.

Heath VanNatter

In 2023, House Bill 1297, authored by Rep. Heath VanNatter, R-Kokomo, made history by actually getting a legislative hearing. That bill would have decriminalized possession of two ounces or less of marijuana.

Advocates and legislators who support decriminalization, or legalizing marijuana for recreational or medical uses, held out hope that the legislative momentum would continue in 2024.

That didn’t prove to be the case.

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This year, there were 10 marijuana-related bills filed in the Indiana House and Senate.

None made it out of committee.

VanNatter, who co-authored HBs 1349, 1350 and 1410 this year, said he hears from constituents all the time about the state’s need to legalize marijuana for either recreational or medical reasons.

The Kokomo representative said there’s still hesitation from the Legislature and Gov. Eric Holcomb to pass bills linked to legalization.

Still, given last year’s historic hearing, VanNatter said he remains confident Indiana will join surrounding states in legalizing marijuana.

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“We’re going to get there at some point,” he said.

Polls show support

The 2022 Hoosier Survey, a poll conducted by Indiana Public Broadcasting and Ball State University’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs, showed more than 85% of the 600 respondents supported marijuana legalization in some form, compared to 15% who said it should be illegal.

Against that backdrop, legislators in the 2024 session filed bills like Senate Bill 126, authored by Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor of Indianapolis, that looked to establish a medical marijuana program and to permit caregivers and patients who have received a physician recommendation to possess a certain quantity of marijuana for treatment of certain medical conditions.

Taylor’s bill also sought to establish a regulatory agency to oversee the program.

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Jake Teshka

In the Indiana House, VanNatter co-authored HB 1349 and 1350 with Rep. Jake Teshka, R-North Liberty, and Rep. Steve Bartels, R-Eckerty.

Like last year’s HB 1297, HB 1349 would have decriminalized possession of two ounces or less of marijuana. HB 1350 looked to establish a procedure for the lawful production and sale of cannabis in Indiana.

In 2023, Teshka also authored House Bill 1039, a piece of legislation that sought to legalize and provide a regulatory infrastructure for medical and adult use cannabis after marijuana is removed as a federal Schedule I controlled substance.

Teshka told Indiana Lawyer that the Legislature needs to be having discussions about legalization, particularly given that most surrounding states have approved marijuana for both recreational and medical use.

“We’ve got to be having the conversation now,” he said.

National efforts

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In neighboring Ohio, voters approved a ballot initiative in November 2023 legalizing recreational marijuana. Passage of Issue 2 made Ohio the 24th state to allow adult cannabis use for nonmedical purposes.

Each state surrounding Indiana has legalized either recreational or medical marijuana, with some states legalizing the drug for both uses.

Nationwide, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, the medical use of cannabis has been legalized in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

Sen. Rodney Pol

Back in Indiana, Sens. Eric Bassler, R-Washington, and Rodney Pol, D-Chesterton, this year co-authored SB 294 for medical cannabis.

After marijuana is removed as a federal Schedule I controlled substance, the bill sought to permit the use of cannabis by a person with a serious medical condition as determined by the person’s physician. It would also establish a cannabis program to permit the cultivation, processing, testing, transportation and sale of cannabis by holders of a valid permit, as well as set up an Indiana Cannabis Commission as a state agency to oversee, implement and enforce the program.

Pol said he and other supporters of legalization have been running into the same talking points from legislative opponents for years.

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He said arguments against legalizing marijuana have shifted from, “The state needs to wait for the federal government to reschedule marijuana,” to, “The Legislature doesn’t have time to deal with the issue.”

“It’s becoming clear it’s an avoidance tactic,” Pol said.

Last August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered a recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration that marijuana be moved from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance.

Republican Gov. Holcomb has held firm that Indiana should wait until marijuana is federally legalized before considering legalization in the state.

Next year?

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Pol said he’s filed marijuana-related bills every year he’s been in the Senate.

That won’t change next year.

“I filed for three years in a row since I started, and I’ll continue to do so,” he said.

Pleas to pass some form of marijuana legislation are among the most common requests from his constituents, Pol added.

Given his area’s close proximity to Illinois and Michigan, Pol said he and residents in northwest Indiana have seen the good economic effects of marijuana legalization, as well as the benefits of decriminalizing the drug.

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Pol said he thinks the hesitation to legalize in Indiana comes primarily from the Legislature.

Also, with Holcomb leaving office at the end of the year, Pol said he hasn’t seen any Republican gubernatorial candidates speak out about the need for marijuana legalization.

Conversely, Pol pointed to Democratic candidate Jennifer McCormick, who he said seems to be more open to the idea of legalization.

Teshka said he would probably be a lead author or co-author for marijuana-related bills in the state’s 2025 legislative session.

Like Pol, Teshka said he finds broad support for legalization in his district from Republicans, Democrats, independents and people with other political affiliations.

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Likewise, VanNatter said he’s definitely going to introduce legislation next year, with the Kokomo representative noting there will be a new governor and several new representatives and senators at the Statehouse in 2025.

He said decriminalization is his biggest priority.

“Every election cycle, there’s more and more people that are supportive,” VanNatter said.•



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No. 1 UCLA Resumes MPSF Play at No. 14 Indiana – UCLA

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No. 1 UCLA Resumes MPSF Play at No. 14 Indiana – UCLA


LOS ANGELES – No. 1 UCLA (14-0, 1-0 MPSF) resumes MPSF action this week when it travels to No. 14 Indiana (14-2, 0-0 MPSF) on Saturday, Mar. 2 at 8:00 a.m. PT (11:00 a.m. ET). The game against the Hoosiers will be televised live on the Big Ten Networks with Kylen Mills and Garrin Kapecki calling all of the exciting action. Indiana will provide live stats on the 6-8 Sports platform.

SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
Saturday, Mar. 2 (Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center – Bloomington, Ind. – MPSF Game)
8:00 AM PT – No. 1 UCLA at No. 14 Indiana | LIVE STATS | TV: Big Ten Network

Saturday, Mar. 9 (Dirks Pool at Spieker Aquatics Center  – Los Angeles, Calif.)
12:00 PM PT – Biola at No. 1 UCLA | LIVE STATS
1:30 PM PT – UCLA Alumni Game

SERIES HISTORY
UCLA is 19-0 all-time against Indiana (15-0 in neutral-site games and 4-0 at home). This is the first time the Bruins have ever met the Hoosiers in a true road game. UCLA won the last meeting, which was the league- and season-opener for both teams, by a score of 15-6 (Jan. 20, 2023). Katrina Drake scored three goals and Ava JohnsonSienna Green, and Anna Pearson each added two goals to lead the Bruins to victory. Zoe Crouch was the only multiple goal scorer for the Hoosiers with two.

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LAST WEEK IN REVIEW
No. 1 UCLA won the Barbara Kalbus Invitational with three wins over Top 10 teams last weekend at UC Irvine. The Bruins opened with an 18-6 win over Cal State Fullerton on Friday, Feb. 23. UCLA posted an 11-5 win over the hosts, No. 10 UC Irvine in the quarterfinals and a 9-6 win over No. 4 Stanford in the semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 24. Then in the title game on Sunday, Feb. 25 in a 15-9 win over No. 2 Hawai’i, the Bruins fell behind 8-3 before ending the game on an epic 12-1 run for the lopsided victory.

STEELE SWEEPS WEEKLY MPSF AWARDS
UCLA freshman goalkeeper Lauren Steele (Old Greenwich, Conn. / Orange Lutheran HS) was named the MPSF/Delfina Player of the Week and the S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office on Feb. 27. Steele went 4-0 in the cage as the Bruins’ starting goalkeeper against three ranked teams at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational over the weekend helping the Bruins win the title and remain undefeated on the year at 14-0. She racked up a total of 47 saves (14.5 saves per game) while sporting a 6.77 goals against average in her four appearances in goal. While starting every game, she played just the first quarter in the lopsided win over Cal State Fullerton, making one stop while allowing two goals. She went the distance in each of the next three games, recording a UCLA freshman record of 21 saves in the quarterfinal win over No. 10 UC Irvine, holding the Anteaters to just five goals. It marked the most saves by a Bruin since Caitlin Dement had 22 against UC Davis in 2010. In the semifinal win over No. 4 Stanford, she made nine stops while holding Stanford to just six goals. In the title game, she was credited with 16 saves in the Bruins’ 15-9 win over No. 2 Hawai’i. She also had two steals and one assist during the tournament. These are the second and third career MPSF weekly awards for Steele.

TAYLOR SMITH NAMED MPSF/DELFINA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UCLA sophomore attacker Taylor Smith (Newport Beach, Calif. / Newport Harbor HS) was named the MPSF/Delfina Player of the Week as announced by the league office on Feb. 20. Smith led the Bruins in scoring with six points on a season- and career-high five goals (on seven shots) to go with one assist in top-ranked UCLA’s 14-12 victory over No. 7 Arizona State to open MPSF play on Saturday, Feb. 17. She also added two steals and drew one exclusion in the Bruins’ only game of the week. UCLA improved to 10-0 on the year and 1-0 in the MPSF. This is Smith’s second career MPSF award and first Player of the Week honor.

SZEGEDI NAMED MPSF/S&R SPORT NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK FOR THE THIRD TIME
UCLA freshman utility Panni Szegedi (Budapest, Hungary/Kolping Katolikus Iskola) has been named the MPSF/S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office on Feb. 13. Szegedi scored two goals on two shots in top-ranked UCLA’s 16-5 lopsided victory over No. 8 UC Irvine in its home-opener on Saturday, Feb. 10. It marked the most goals scored and was the largest margin of victory for the Bruins over the Anteaters since 2017. She also won both of her sprints and added one assist in the Bruins’ only game of the week as UCLA improved to 9-0 on the year. This is the third career MPSF weekly award for Szegedi, including a repeat of the last two weeks.

SZEGEDI NAMED MPSF/S&R SPORT NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK AGAIN
UCLA freshman utility Panni Szegedi (Budapest, Hungary/Kolping Katolikus Iskola) has been named the MPSF/S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office on Feb. 6. Szegedi scored seven goals (tied for the team lead), registered four assists, four steals, won four sprints and drew two exclusions to help the Bruins win the Triton Invitational (Feb. 2-4). Szegedi opened with a hat trick in the win against California Baptist. She then scored on her only shot and won her only sprint in the victory over No. 14 Arizona State. In the semifinal win over No. 4 Hawai’i, she scored twice, including the final goal in regulation to send the game into overtime. She added three steals, three sprints, one earned exclusion and one assist against the Rainbow Wahine. In the championship vs. No. 5 Fresno State, she scored once and added three assists, one steal, and drew one exclusion. This is the second career MPSF weekly award for Szegedi, including a repeat of the last two weeks.

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BRUINS SWEEP WEEKLY MPSF AWARDS
The UCLA Bruins swept the MPSF weekly honors as sophomore utility Anna Pearson was named the MPSF/Delfina Player of the Week and freshman utility Panni Szegedi was tabbed the MPSF/S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office on Jan. 30. UCLA went 1-0 this past week with an 18-10 win over No. 14 UC Davis in its only countable game at the California Cup on Saturday (Jan. 27) to help the Bruins remain undefeated at 4-0 on the year. Pearson (Irvine, Calif. / Orange Lutheran HS) led the team and tied her career high with five goals (on seven shots) against the Aggies. She also drew a team-high three exclusions. Szegedi (Budapest, Hungary / Kolping Katolikus Iskola) scored the first hat trick (on five shots) of her collegiate career against UC Davis. The freshman did a little bit of everything, winning all three of her sprints, drawing one exclusion, and recording a game-high four steals. It marked Pearson’s third and Szegedi’s first career MPSF award of their respective careers.

STEELE NAMED MPSF/S&R SPORT NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
UCLA freshman goalkeeper Lauren Steele (Old Greenwich, Conn./Orange Lutheran HS) has been named the MPSF/S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office on Jan. 23. Steele went 3-0 in the cage as the Bruins’ starting goalkeeper against three ranked teams at the UCSB Winter Invitational over the weekend. She racked up a total of 17 saves (10.0 saves per game) while sporting a 5.88 goals against average in her three appearances in goal. While starting every game, she led the team in steals with five as she played just over half of the 12 quarters (6.8) in the cage and then played in the field, where she finished tied for fourth on the team in scoring with three goals (on six shots). She had five saves while pitching a shutout in the first period in the win over No. 25 Marist. She followed that with eight saves, three steals, and her first collegiate goal in the win over No. 10 UC San Diego in 29:50 of action in goal. In the win at No. 12 UC Santa Barbara, she played 16:38 in the cage, making four saves and two steals while allowing just four goals. She also scored twice (on two shots) against the Gauchos. This was Lauren Steele’s first career MPSF award.

PEARSON IS LONE RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN FROM 2023
Sophomore utility Anna Pearson is the only Bruin All-American back for the 2024 season. She earned Honorable Mention accolades after finishing second on the team in scoring with 46 goals. First Team All-American center Ava Johnson, graduated, as did Second-Teamer, utility Katrina Drake. Junior attacker Emma Lineback and sophomore utility Sienna Green both earned Honorable Mention plaudits and both will miss the 2024 campaign to train for a spot on the National Teams of their respective countries, USA and Australia, for the Olympic Games.

TWO MORE ALL-AMERICANS RETURNING
But while only one player is back this season that earned All-America acclaim in 2023, the Bruins return two more players that have achieved All-America status in their respective careers. Junior attacker Molly Renner earned Honorable Mention honors in 2022 and was eighth on the team last year in scoring with 25 goals (56 in her career). Graduate student Hannah Palmer has decided to use her free COVID year and return for a fifth season after earning Second-Team All-America honors in 2021. The attacker was 10th on the team last year in scoring with 20 goals (93 in her career).

RETURNING ALL-MPSF SELECTIONS
While five of the Bruins’ seven All-MPSF selections from a year ago are either gone or using an Olympic year, two players return from the 2023 season that received postseason accolades from the league office. Both are sophomores in utility Anna Pearson and attacker Taylor Smith, who was seventh on the squad in scoring with 30 goals.

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TENDING GOAL
The Bruins have five goalkeepers on the 2024 roster that will be vying for playing time and three of them saw action last season. Leading the charge will be senior Sydney Chiang, who played in eight games (starting six times) while going 6-0 on the year. Sophomore Izzy Rosensitto made one appearance on the year while junior MJ Bailey also played in one game. Looking to make an immediate impact will be two true freshmen goalkeepers in Joey Niz (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos HS) and Lauren Steele (Old Greenwich, Conn./Orange Lutheran HS).
 
YOUTH MOVEMENT
The Bruins will be a fairly young team in 2024 with 11 true freshmen and six sophomores on the roster. That is a total of 17 of the Bruins’ 26 student-athletes (65.4 percent) on the roster with only one year or less of collegiate experience. The 11 freshmen include the two aforementioned goalies, as well as center Dania Innis (Orinda, Calif./Miramonte HS), attackers Elektra Urbatsch (Brooklyn, N.Y./Poly Prep Country Day School), Becca Melanson (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny HS), Helene MacBeth (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS), Camille Greenlee (Carlsbad, Calif./The Bishop’s School), and Alexsa Gimenez (Commerce, Calif./Downey HS), and utilities Natasha Kieckhafer (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS), Olivia Ouellette (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos HS), and Panni Szegedi (Budapest, Hungary/Kolping Katolikus Iskola).
 
OUTNUMBERED BUT MIGHTY
UCLA will have nine players on its 2024 roster that are either juniors, seniors or graduate students. Three graduate students are using their free COVID year to play in 2024 and they include attackers Fiona Kuesis, Hannah Palmer, and Brooke Doten. The Bruins also have three seniors on the roster that includes goalkeeper Sydney Chiang and attackers Anneliese Miller and Malia Allen. While junior Emma Lineback is taking an Olympic year, three other juniors return in 2024 that includes goalkeeper MJ Bailey, attacker Molly Renner, and utility Nicole Struss.

WRIGHT ON DECK
Adam Wright is in his seventh season as UCLA’s head women’s water polo coach in 2024 with an overall record of 140-36 (.796) and an MPSF mark of 26-12 (.684). He recently won his 100th game at the helm of the women’s program with a 9-8 victory at No. 4 California (Mar. 5, 2022). On July 20, 2017, then-UCLA Director of Athletics, Dan Guerrero, announced that Wright would guide both the UCLA men’s and women’s water polo teams.
 
RECAPPING 2023
Overall Record: 21-8 (.724) | MPSF Record: 4-2 (.667) | Final Ranking: 3rd | NCAA Finish: T-3rd | MPSF Tournament Finish: 4th

UCLA finished the season at 21-8 overall and 4-2 in the MPSF in 2023 in head coach Adam Wright‘s sixth season at the helm of the program. Five Bruins earned All-America acclaim on the year. Graduate center Ava Johnson headlined the list of Bruin selections as UCLA’s lone First-Team honoree. Graduate utility Katrina Drake was the only Bruin to earn Second-Team honors. The remaining three Bruins earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades, which included sophomore attacker Emma Lineback and a pair of freshmen utility in Anna Pearson and Sienna Green.

UCLA IN THE CWPA POLL
The Bruins remained steady at No. 1 in the 2024 CWPA National Women’s Varsity Top 25 Poll (100 points), released on Feb. 28.
 

 2024 Women’s Varsity Top 25 (Week 6/February 28)
Rank Team Week 5 Poll Points
 1.  UCLA  1  100
 2.  Hawai’i  2  96
 3.  Stanford  4  91
 4 (T).  California  6  86
 4 (T).  USC  5  86
 6.  Fresno State  3  80
 7.  UC Irvine  10  74
 8.  Michigan  8  71
 9.  Long Beach State  12  68
 10.  Princeton  9  63
 11.  Arizona State  7  60
 12.  Loyola Marymount  11  58
 13.  UC Santa Barbara  13 (T)  53
 14.  Indiana  13 (T)  44
 15.  UC San Diego  13 (T)  43
 16.  UC Davis  13 (T)  40
 17.  Pacific  17  38
 18.  Wagner  18  28
 19 (T).  Harvard  19  27
 19 (T).  Brown  20  27
 21.  San Jose State  23  16
 22.  Long Island University  21 (T)  14
 23 (T).  Marist  21 (T)  10
 23 (T).  CSUN  25  10
 25.  San Diego State  24  7
 RV  Pomona-Pitzer  RV  5
 RV  Biola  RV  4

 



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