Students and workers attempt to join forces against unfair management practices
Since the words “UC Santa Cruz Protest” generally bring to mind images of enraged students chanting, marching, blocking traffic and wreaking as much havoc as possible, the student/worker “protest” for accountability that took place April 7 would more aptly be termed a “discussion.” The 15 students and workers who attended decided there were too few bodies to hold a true protest, so they used the time together to discuss some of the problems facing UCSC: budget cuts, lay-offs, the suspension of the community studies major, and the lack of a cohesive group for students and workers.
What was just a menacing rumor for more than a year now has become reality at UC Santa Cruz: The Community Studies major has been axed. The university’s Academic Senate Committee on Educational Policy announced their decision to “suspend the major” on Wednesday, April 7, thereby “restricting new admission to the major for at least two years,” according to an open letter released by the office of the Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. Community studies is a popular and one-of-a-kind program that allows students to zero in on a field of community organizing or action, and requires all students to complete a six month field study. The decision to cut the program (although prospective students and students currently in the major will be able to continue) came as a result of a multi-million dollar target budget reduction UCSC was tasked with slashing by the UC. Outraged students and faculty, led by the Coalition to Save Community Studies, have already organized around the news. They will be gathering at UCSC’s Quarry Plaza at noon before marching across the campus in protest.
In honor of National Park Week, entrance fees to the nation’s 392 national parks will be waived for the week of April 17–25, 2010. Special events such as hikes, restoration days, and beach cleanups are also being held at many of the parks. Discounts on tours, lodging, and souvenirs may also be available. National parks in our area include Alcatraz Island (nps.gov/findapark/index.htm), Golden Gate (nps.gov/findapark/index.htm), Muir Woods, Pinnacles, and Point Reyes. For more information, a detailed national park list, or the calendar of National Park Week events, visit nps.gov/npweek/.
A coalition of concerned citizens has cropped up in the last few weeks in response to plans for a new Boulder Creek Community Center, for which the group’s chairman, Ken Pastrof, says “A thorough site analysis and sound land use planning were not used” when the Parks and Recreation board signed a letter of intent to buy the according property. Although they support the advancement of the community’s recreation facilities, they are pushing for a closer look at a myriad of factors, such as fiscal responsibility, traffic, noise, parking and community involvement in the planning process. The coalition will hold a general meeting to address these issues and more on Saturday, April 10 at 10 a.m. at the Boulder Creek Recreation Center, located at 13333 Middleton Ave., Boulder Creek. Visit thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-the-plan-now for more information. 赼
Rare Hawaiian monk seal now calls Long Marine Lab home
Meet UC Santa Cruz’s newest student--a two-year-old Hawaiian monk seal named Hō‘ailona. Like any freshman, he’s adjusting to his new environment, making friends, and even has his own Facebook page. However, his curriculum is a little different than that of the average student--Hō‘ailona is learning to participate in scientific research that can provide critical data for the conservation of endangered monk seals.
National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) scientists rescued Hō‘ailona from a Kaua‘i beach in May 2008, after he’d been abandoned by his mother. They cared for him and then released him back to the wild on the island of Moloka‘i in December 2008. The transition back into the wild did not go smoothly; Hō‘ailona had become habituated to humans and preferred hanging out at the wharf and interacting with people to being with his fellow seals. As he grew bigger, his interactions with people became a threat to his own and the public’s safety.
Local police and schools team up for new gang prevention program
On Wednesday, March 24, the Santa Cruz Police Department, with the support of Santa Cruz City Schools, announced plans to launch a new gang prevention program.
Modeled after a Southern California program that targets at-risk youth and their families, the Personally Responsible Individual Development in Ethics (PRIDE) program seeks to educate Santa Cruz youth about the risks of gang activity. The 10-week program will inform the adolescents and their parents about the outcomes of good and bad decision-making in an interactive way. The first five weeks will focus on the consequences of bad decisions; participants will listen to talks from former gang members and drug users and will take field trips to a state prison and local morgue. The following five weeks will concentrate on good decision-making. During the final half of the program, the students will interact with positive role models such as professional athletes and elected officials. Meanwhile, parents will learn methods to effectively support and monitor their children.
This spring break, 50 California Student Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) students took to the beach to draw attention to plastic pollution and to encourage banning polystyrene. Beach cleanups were held at many of the tour’s seven stops (including in Santa Cruz on March 23), along with meetings with public officials and press conferences, where students and community leaders talked about the threat plastic pollution poses to our oceans and why they believe the answer lies in a statewide ban on single-use, polystyrene take-out containers.
CALPIRG students travel the coast to ban Styrofoam
This spring break, 50 California Student Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) students took to the beach to draw attention to plastic pollution and to encourage banning polystyrene. The “Wave of Change” tour kicked off Sunday, March 21 with a beach cleanup at San Diego’s Ocean Beach Pier, and will end in Sacramento this Thursday, March 25.