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Feb 11th
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Slugs Speak Up

blog_slugUCSC takes part in nationwide education rally
More than 200 demonstrators gathered in UC Santa Cruz's Quarry Plaza on Wednesday, March 2, as a part of a national day of action for education that included actions at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and others.

One year ago, on March 4, 2010, protestors gathering at the UCSC entrances were effective in shutting down the campus for a one-day walk out. This year, participants took a different approach– opting for an emphasis on discussion. Fourth year feminist studies major Lauren Lystrud says the event was focused on awareness and getting more of the campus involved.

“I am out here as a student concerned with budget cuts, concerned with fee increases and the lack of access to the university for underrepresented communities … while we're focusing on issues of people of color … its really a struggle for everybody at the university,” Lystrud says. “It’s all of our rights and all of our responsibilities to keep this university public and to keep it accessible.”

Several students and UCSC staff spoke to the crowd on issues including: the 2012 university admissions policy in which the UC will no longer consider SAT 2 scores for admittance, a move critics say will disproportionately effect students of color; support for the DREAM act; the lack of an ethnic studies academic program at UCSC; and a lack of space and funding for the campus' Ethnic Resource Centers. Students argue that the centers are confined to a small space on campus and required to compete against each other for funding.

The central unifying demand for the group is the creation of an ethnic studies academic department at UCSC. Protestors point to what they consider a broken promise from the university, where after a 1981 protest then Executive Vice Chancellor Michael Tanner said the school would “[keep] Ethnic Studies on an even footing.”

The creation of a new department may be a budgetary challenge for UCSC with recent deep funding cuts and the suspension of both the community studies and American studies programs. Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed $1.4 billion cut to higher education next year means a $31 million reduction for UCSC. Steep cuts have also come along with drastic fee increases, with the 8 percent fee increase scheduled for next fall, UC student fees will have increased 40 percent since fall 2009.

Around 1:30 p.m., as the rally concluded, approximately 75 protestors moved the demonstration to the third floor of the Bay Tree Bookstore building, which houses conference rooms, the Career Center and the campus Ethnic Resource Centers. Following some group discussion American Indian Resource Center Director Carolyn Dunn addressed the crowd with a motion of support, but also to request the space be respected and the office's work allowed to continue. The group moved out into the adjacent balcony and hallway.

After negotiations for a meeting with the campus Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway fell through, 30 students decided to stay in the building for a sit-in. While the building officially closed at 10 p.m. protestors remained inside all night for the peaceful demonstration watched over by Fist Alarm private security officers.

Thursday morning the group marched across campus to Kerr Hall to bring their message to university administration, where they were met by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Felica McGinty and Dean of Students Alma Sifuentes. The two administrators encouraged the students to find alternative tactics for bringing forward their concerns. McGinty that her priority is to support student retention and graduation.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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