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At least two individuals have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury that appears to be investigating a fire set at the home of a UC Santa Cruz animal researcher in 2008. There was no claim of responsibility for the fire, and there is no evidence activists were responsible. Nonetheless, the incident became the impetus for the "AETA 4" case, which saw the indictment of four Bay Area activists before charges were dismissed in 2010.
In downtown Santa Cruz on April 20, LGBQT community members from the Diversity Center's Youth Program and their family members and allies held a "Breaking the Silence" rally in front of the Del Mar Theatre before a showing of the film "Bully". People held signs and shared stories. There was a group shout out, and many involved with the youth program wore tape x'd over their mouths to both symbolize the silencing effect of bullying on the LGBQT youth community, as well as to be an expression of solidarity with those who could not attend the rally in person for many different reasons of privacy.
On April 20th, thousands of people descended upon Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz for Four Twenty (420), a counterculture holiday observed in cities throughout the world, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Four Twenty in Porter Meadow at UCSC is an unorganized annual tradition. Last year, rain caused people to seek shelter under the forest canopy. This year, it was the hot sun which drove people to the shade provided by the trees.
Just months after UC Davis police pepper sprayed seated students in the face during a protest against university privatization and police brutality, Chancellor Linda Katehi's administration is trying to send some of the same students to prison for their alleged role in protests that led to the closure of a US Bank branch on campus. On March 29th, weeks after an anti-privatization action against the US Bank branch, 11 UC Davis students and one professor received orders to appear at Yolo County Superior Court. District Attorney Jeff Reisig is charging campus protesters with 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place and one count of conspiracy. Support has been requested for their arraignment, which has been rescheduled to May 10th.
The Long Haul and East Bay Prisoner Support have settled their lawsuits over an armed, over-broad police raid after the law enforcement agencies agreed to delete improperly seized computer data and pay $100,000 in damages and attorney's fees. Moreover, the University of California-Berkeley Police Department (UCBPD) acknowledged that at the time of the raid one of the groups qualified for federal protections designed to protect journalists, publishers, and other distributors of information from police searches, despite the police's persistent denial of that status throughout the lawsuit.
On March 1st, hundreds of students at the University of California Santa Cruz, with the aid of local community members, built a tent university at the base of campus as part of a coordinated day of Occupy Education actions statewide. A general strike with regards to the main campus was also planned, and students blocked both entrances to the university, which effectively shutdown UCSC for approximately 16 hours. In the words of one UC police officer that day, "students have taken control of the campus."
On March 3rd, the Student Environmental Center at UC Santa Cruz hosted the 11th Annual Campus Earth Summit. This year's Campus Earth Summit included student-led workshops on a wide-variety of subjects, live performances, and keynote talks by Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane and Eric Holt-Giménez of Food First.