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Center Column Archives
At approximately 2:45am on May 28, the University of California, Santa Cruz Student Union Assembly (SUA) passed a resolution calling for divestment from companies that profit from Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians with a majority vote of 22-14. While official discussion of the Divestment Bill was scheduled at 11pm, a SUA member motioned at approximately 8:15 to indefinitely table the bill. The motion failed, and the Divestment testimonials were initiated at 11:30pm.
While reflecting on a long year of labor struggles at UC Santa Cruz, students looking to the future continued to call for the resignation of UC president Janet Napolitano at the 'No 2 Napolitano' May Day rally held at the university. The opposition of Napolitano is central to their fight for justice for workers, especially those who are undocumented. In addition to calling for Napolitano's resignation, students also called for the university to settle a fair contract with UAW Local 2865, the labor union that represents Graduate Student Workers, and for all charges against the UCSC 22 to be dropped.
A new report documents, for the first time, widespread pesticide use near California schools, including in Monterey County. Many of the pesticides profiled are used in large amounts and linked to impacts on children’s health and learning. A coalition, which includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, has called for reforms in addressing pesticide use to protect children in Monterey County.
On the morning of April 22, dozens of Andy’s Youth gathered in front of Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa to commemorate the six-month anniversary of the murder of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus. The students held up signs in front of the school demanding that Gelhaus be indicted and that the Cook Principal and teachers cease making demeaning and disparaging comments about Andy.
Two different political demonstrations were held during the first day of Alumni Weekend at UC Santa Cruz on April 25. Members of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs protested an appearance by former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who spoke at an exhibition of student projects at the university. At the same time as the Panetta protest, students in support of the UCSC 22 demonstrated at another Alumni Weekend event, the Graduate Alumni Cocktail Hour, which was held at the Graduate Student Commons.
Over one hundred San Francisco public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and education staff who are members of United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) rallied on April 22 at the San Francisco Unified School District school board building. UESF workers are demanding a living wage after an 8-year wage freeze. The massive speculative housing bubble is driving workers out of San Francisco and forcing them to commute long distances. Many are unable to afford healthcare.
A unique partnership between community members, UC Berkeley students, academics and staff has been working toward creation of a 1.5 acre urban farm, education and research center on the Gill Tract in Albany. The Gill Tract Farm Coalition has invited members of the public to "Come join us for a Spring Planting Celebration on Saturday, April 26, as we celebrate this new joint venture by planting, learning, playing, and eating together!"