Campus police said a female student was sexually assaulted outside student housing around 2:30 a.m. Friday.
They said the student was attacked at the top of the heavily-trafficked but dimly-lit steps to the Saxon Suites from Gayley Avenue.
Police said she came into contact with a man about that time. After a brief conversation, she was allegedly attacked, but was able to escape and was not physically injured.
Police are still looking for the suspect, who is described as a white man who appears to be about 21 years old, about 6 feet tall and 150 pounds with short brown hair and blue eyes.
Police said he was wearing shorts and a white T-shirt at the time of the alleged attack.
Students said the steps are used frequently as a shortcut between university housing and Gayley Avenue.
"A lot of people actually use this path, so I don't usually think of it as somewhere that I would consider dangerous," said student Joaquin Camacho.
Anyone with information is asked to call the UCLA Police Department at (310) 825-1491.