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UCSC Highway Six Back in Court on June 29 & 30 The six UCSC students charged in association with the March 3 blockade of Highway 17, where it meets Highway 1 in Santa Cruz, will be back in court on Monday, June 29 and Tuesday, June 30. On June 29 at 10:00am, there will be a hearing in Santa Cruz County Superior Court to finalize their sentence, and on June 30 at 1:30pm there will be a restitution hearing. The students are calling for court support.

All six have pleaded "no contest" to two misdemeanor counts each at their last court appearance on May 7, which was followed by a press conference where three members of the group discussed for the first time publicly what motivated them on March 3.

They have issued a call for court support: "We need to fill the court room with supporters to let the judge know that the community stands with us. That our action was FOR the community, NOT against it. We need to hold the cops, the judge, the university, and the state accountable. This means the community needs to physically show up and be seen. So please come, stand with us against the powers that be. Bodies make a difference!!!"

calendarStand with the UCSC HWY 6. Fill the Court Room | See Also: imc_photo.gifvideoUCSC Highway Six Back in Court June 29 & 30
UC Santa Cruz Lecturers Mark Expiration of Contract with "St. Precaria's Picnic" On June 1 the Lecturer's labor contract at UC Santa Cruz expired, and union members with American Federation of Teachers Local 2199 and their supporters marked the day by picketing — and picnicking — at the base of campus. Messages in support of adjunct-faculty members and a more democratized University of California system were displayed as individuals held several large, colorful puppets. Food was served, and the day-long event was dubbed "St. Precaria's Picnic."

Lecturers are non-tenure track adjunct-faculty members. They say that they are not treated like professionals, even though they teach classes, engage in writing and research, and hold advanced degrees from top universities. The majority of Lecturers are hired year-by-year or quarter-by-quarter as "temp" workers, which leaves them with no job security. Additionally, a full-time Lecturer's workload is typically twice that of a tenure track professor, yet they are paid significantly less.

Many of the picket signs displayed at the picnic communicated around the theme of precarity. One such message, "A Precarious Faculty = A Precarious University," was emblazoned on a gold flag along with the stencil of a fist holding a pencil. Precarity has been defined as a condition of instability in the workforce created in postindustrial societies when management seeks to increase its own strength by limiting job opportunities to temporary and or part-time work. In February, organizers of the National Adjunct Day of Action adopted "Saint Precaria" as their "icon saint" and individuals at UC Santa Cruz continue to develop themes surrounding precarity.

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 2199
Students Occupy Stevenson Coffee House at Activists IN! Rapists OUT! Rally Students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Stevenson Coffee House for a short period of time on April 27 to expose a person they say is a known rapist who is presently employed at the business. The small cafe, which is privately owned and operated under a lease with the university, is located within Stevenson College on the east side of the UCSC campus. The person who they say raped at least two students was not in the coffee house at the time the group marched inside. They had first assembled in Quarry Plaza for an "Activists IN! Rapists OUT!" rally. Students announced the intention of the rally as follows:

"The University of California is targeting and repressing student activists as “threats to the health and safety” of the community, while protecting students who repeatedly rape and sexually assault our fellow slugs. 6 students are facing unprecedented sanctions (suspension until September 1, 2016, 100-120 hours of community service, and a stayed suspension once they return to campus) for nonviolent, civil disobedience off-campus in protest of the tuition hikes and police brutality. In addition, a number of students have faced university repression for taking nonviolent action to call for the removal a well-known rapist from an off-campus benefit for the 6.

"Simultaneously, UCSC has come under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for their mishandling of rape and other sexual violence cases. The University has created a climate where students cannot take any kind of action -- against sexual violence, against tuition hikes, against state violence -- without facing University repression and indifference to their calls. WE ARE CALLING for a community-based response, one that directly fights back against university repression and sexual assault, while building a broader understanding and awareness of the university's role in perpetuating sexual violence and other systems of oppression."

imc_photo.gifvideoRead More with Photos and Video | See Also: Office for Civil Rights to Visit UCSC to Investigate Handling of Sexual Violence Reports || Why LGB Queer & Trans Students Shouldn't Feel Safe

Related Indybay Features: Supporting the HWY 6 at Their Second Court Appearance Together || The Unmanageable University || Supporters Pack the Courtroom for the Highway 17 Six || Students Shut Down Santa Cruz Highways and UCSC Campus During 96 Hours of Action
Activists Protest Sprouts Grand Opening in San Rafael On April 15, urban farmers from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm, Occupy the Farm, other food and climate justice communities, and fast food workers took action together at an Oakland McDonalds, in conjunction with Fight for Fifteen actions happening all across the country. Free burritos made with vegetables from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm were distributed at the McDonalds. By noon, fast food workers and Gill Tract farmers joined forces again for a Boycott Sprouts action at the grand opening of a Sprouts “Farmers Market” in San Rafael to protest the greenwashing, union-busting corporate supermarket’s plans to pave the historic Gill Tract Farm in Albany. Sprouts is known for their low pay, labor violations and union-busting. Protesters arrived by bus with signs, speakers and music to demand that Sprouts not only cancel its plans to develop the Gill Tract farm but that workers be paid at least $15/hour and be allowed union representation. Activists and community members have been fighting UC Berkeley for decades trying to save this farm land from being lost, but UC and Sprouts have agreed to turn a significant portion of the Gill Tract into a shopping center.

photoPhotos | photoWeek of Success! Fight for Fifteen, Boycott Sprouts, and EIR Lawsuit! | Occupy the Farm | Boycott Sprouts

Previous Related Indybay Features: Protesters Shut Down Sprouts Farmers Market to Stop Planned Development of Historic Gill Tract | UC's Capital Projects Races to Remove Trees to Make Way for Development
Supporting the HWY 6 at Their Second Court Appearance Together The six UCSC students arrested and charged in association with the March 3 blockade of Highway 1 where it meets Highway 17 in Santa Cruz returned to court on April 8. As the six defendants and their attorneys made their second appearance as a group before Judge Denine Guy, a prosecutor indicated the District Attorney's office will not offer them a plea deal to reduce misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and creating a public nuisance. The Santa Cruz DA also desires a restitution amount of $19,000 be paid. Additionally, UCSC has suspended the students until the Spring of 2016.

Buttons were printed up and distributed that had the following messages on them: "Stop Political Repression At UCSC - Free The HWY 6!" "Slugs Against First Amendment Suppression - Drop the HWY 6 Charges," "Sit Down Fight Back - Support the HWY 6," and, "Repeal the Suspensions - Reject the Regents!" Food Not Bombs arrived an hour before the students' scheduled appearance and served hot oatmeal as family members and supporters mingled near the entrance of the court house.

While the six students appeared upbeat and energetic before, after, and during their court appearance, they still face quite a few challenges. The University has suspended them until Spring of 2016, and if they return to school they will be forbidden from participating in any "political activity" on campus.

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | See Also: Santa Cruz ACLU Addresses Letter of Concern to UCSC Chancellor | Highway 6 Statement of Concern and Support

Previous Coverage: The Unmanageable University || Supporters Pack the Courtroom for the Highway 17 Six || Students Shut Down Santa Cruz Highways and UCSC Campus During 96 Hours of Action
A new report released by Californians for Pesticide Reform asserts that fumigant pesticides are an outdated, toxic technology that undermines soil health, and safe replacements are needed to grow food on the Central Coast of California. The report examines data that revealed cancer-causing chloropicrin is in the air where Monterey County children live and play, and shares monitoring results that confirm chloropicrin in the city of Watsonville’s air poses an increased cancer risk, despite state required “safer tarps” and "buffer zones".
The Unmanageable University Autonomous Students UCSC write: Before dawn on March 3, a group of six students at the University of California Santa Cruz went to the fishhook connecting Highways 1 to 17. Evoking the practice of highway blockades popularized during the Black Lives Matter movement, they chained themselves to aluminum trashcans filled with cement and blocked traffic for nearly five hours. The traffic jam this caused stretched over the hill to snarl Silicon Valley commutes, an act of peaceful civil disobedience that has since become the most controversial of the “96 Hours of Action” declared across the UC system for the first week of March, in protest against tuition hikes and police violence.

After their arrest, the students were informed in jail that the university had suspended them indefinitely, leaving the campus residents homeless and without access to dining plans or healthcare.

Since then, student activists have vigorously debated whether such tactics can effectively build towards a mass movement – all while insisting on defending these six students from excessive and unprecedented punishment. In the meantime, they have been drawn into a difficult discussion with community members and apolitical UC students who fail to see why a protest of tuition hikes and police violence warranted this level of public disruption – and what these two topics have to do with each other in the first place.

Read More

Previous Coverage: Supporters Pack the Courtroom for the Highway 17 Six || Students Shut Down Santa Cruz Highways and UCSC Campus During 96 Hours of Action
Shutting Down Sprouts On March 14, farmers and neighbors of the historic Gill Tract turned out in large numbers to disrupt business as usual and eventually shutdown a local Sprouts supermarket. Their message to this corporate supermarket chain? "Don't build a Sprouts 'Farmer's Market' on our historic Gill Tract Farmland".

A crowd of protesters, including a brass band, "occupy the farm" activists, and a large delegation of workers from the Fast Food Workers Union converged on a normally quiet Sprouts Supermarket in suburban Walnut Creek. Protesters held a sit-in to block the main entrance to the store, rallying around a 600-pound stump that had been recently cut down by contractors preparing to pave the Gill Tract for the construction of the Sprouts store. Meanwhile, at the the other set of doors, protesters bearing branches from felled Gill Tract trees held a robust picket line turning away many would be customers. After the rally concluded, protesters decided to move their pickets into the store for a "shop-in". One shopper was arrested.

Occupy the Farm reports that one week after a large demonstration at their chain in Walnut Creek, protestors planned a follow-up action for the chain in Petaluma. Over the course of the week before the Petaluma action, Sprouts management sent protestors legal documents suggesting that the parking lot in front of the chain supermarket was not a "free speech" zone, in an attempt to intimidate protestors. On the morning of the protest, the management called for an unprecedented large turnout of police before the first protestors had even arrived, again as an attempt to intimidate. Finally, the Sprouts Management mislead their employees to perceive protestors as violent, telling them false and embellished stories of past protests.

photoProtesters Shut Down Sprouts Farmers Market to Stop Planned Development of Historic Gill Tract | photoShutting Down Sprouts: Reportback from the #GilltractDefense Action in Walnut Creek | photoSprouts Management Intimidates Protests of Their Brand | Occupy the Farm

Previous Related Indybay Feature: UC's Capital Projects Races to Remove Trees to Make Way for Development
Supporters Pack the Courtroom for the Highway 17 Six Supporters packed a Santa Cruz courtroom on March 17 for preliminary hearings concerning the six UCSC students who were arrested for blocking traffic on Highway 17 on March 3 to protest tuition increases. The hearing was the first time all six of those arrested have appeared together in court, and they all have legal representation now. None have pleaded guilty to the charges they face, which include misdemeanors for "resisting arrest" and creating a "public nuisance."

Judge Denine J. Guy set the next hearing date for the defendants for April 8, and said the issue of restitution could come up as part of the proceedings. During the highway blockade on March 3, the students sat across multiple lanes of the roadway and locked themselves to garbage cans full of cement. It took officers with the California Highway Patrol several hours to release them and clear the traffic lanes.

In response to the highway action, the UC Santa Cruz administration suspended the six students from entering all campus facilities, which has left them without access to their homes, food plans, health care, and education.

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | See Also: pdfUCSC Student Union Assembly Condemns Denial of Due Process to the Highway 17 Six

Previous Coverage: Students Shut Down Santa Cruz Highways and UCSC Campus During 96 Hours of Action
Students Shut Down Santa Cruz Highways and UCSC Campus During 96 Hours of Action Students at UC Santa Cruz concluded four days of protests against tuition and fee increases with a campus-wide strike and shut down on March 5. Dubbed "96 Hours of Action," demonstrations were held March 2 to 5 at schools across California to highlight the relationship of racist mass incarceration to the privatization of education. Thousands of people in Santa Cruz were affected on March 3 when six students locked themselves together to block highway traffic.

Student protests have been held regularly at UC Santa Cruz since November of 2014, when the University of California Regents voted to increase tuition by more than 25% over the next five years.

Organizers described the purpose of the 96 Hours of Action in an event announcement: "This is a call to action for students of all Universities, Community Colleges, High Schools, Middle Schools past, present, and future to stand up for free public education and shut down the racist, classist, corporate, militarized police state. The same people benefiting from racial oppression are the same people benefiting from education debts. The state of California is failing its people by investing in police and prisons instead of public education. It's time to reject this assault on our communities and stand together for education and the end of police violence....Stand with your California's students to demand a free, non-oppressive, non-corporate education. We call upon your collective voices and bodies to end this state-sponsored violence against black and brown individuals, end this war against low-income communities, shut down the school-to-prison pipeline, and prioritize PEOPLE OVER PROFITS! STUDENTS OVER SUITS!"

imc_photo.gif96 Hours of Action Begins at UC Santa Cruz (3/2) | imc_photo.gifHwy 17 Blocked for 4 Hours by UCSC Activists Protesting Tuition Hikes & Police Violence (3/3) | imc_photo.gifUCSC Students Block Traffic and Shut Down Highway One in Santa Cruz (3/3) | imc_photo.gifMarching to the UCSC Police Station During 96 Hours of Action (3/4) | imc_photo.gif96 Hours of Action Concludes at UCSC with Successful Campus Shut Down (3/5)

See Also:
An Open Letter about Student Protests at UCSC

Previous Coverage: UCSC Student Walkout Ends with Rally on Roof of Administration Building || UC Santa Cruz Students Occupy Humanities & Social Sciences Building
White UC Berkeley Tenured Professor Offends Graduate Students with Racist Remarks A group of sixty graduate students led a teach-in and mediation at UC Berkeley’s School of Welfare on February 24 in response to racist comments made by tenured professor Steven Segal. The action was organized in support of twenty-five graduate students enrolled in Segal’s Mental Health Policy course, which must be completed this semester by all students in the Community Mental Health concentration. During class on February 10, Segal, a tenured white professor, shared statistics citing Black-on-Black crime as the real cause of harm to the Black community. He then encouraged the class to join him in a rap, claiming that he had been inspired after attending a Black Lives Matter event the prior evening. The rap he shared in class caused great offense to students, with lyrics that stated the movement “needed to stop scapegoating the cops.” The professor also silenced students who questioned and pushed back on his reasoning.

After the incident, students quickly organized to generate a list of demands, including mediation. After several letters and meetings requesting such, mediation was not offered by School of Social Welfare administration. Students were afforded two options: to attend an alternate class with a new professor on a different day, or to continue in Segal’s class as usual. Students who were unable to attend the alternate class due to scheduling conflicts remained without a solution. In addition, a healing circle was scheduled the week following the incident for students in the class to process together. After receiving this news, students requested a mediator to be offered from the University’s Ombudsman’s office. The request was again denied. Students then began to strategize alternate actions to make the classroom safe in order to return.

photoRead More
Early in the morning on February 26, sixty trees were cut down on the southern acreage of the Gill Tract. The UC’s move to begin clearing the way for their proposed housing and shopping complex came as a shock to farmers and neighbors, as there is an active lawsuit on appeal in the county courts, contesting the development’s detrimental environmental impact. Knowing the community would mobilize to defend the trees, the UC cut down the trees with lightening speed. The last trees were in the process of being destroyed at 9am, as farm supporters arrived.
UC Student Association Passes Two Resolutions on Divestment On February 8, the University of California Student Association, the independent official voice of 240,000 UC students, passed two advisory resolutions: Resolution Calling for the UC Regents to Divest from Corporations Violating Palestinian Human Rights and Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California by an 9-1 vote, with 5 abstentions.

The resolutions call for the UC to respect and act upon the call of University of California students to divest from investment in corporations that do business with Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka and the United States including, but not limited to, Boeing, Caterpillar, Cement Roadstone Holdings, Cemex, General Dynamics, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and United Technologies.

The resolutions also call upon the University of California to establish a means of implementing greater student oversight of the UC’s investment policy. They further urge the UC to realign its investments to socially responsible companies, a standard that also includes divestment from companies that practice fossil fuel extraction, and those that perpetuate the Prison Industrial Complex. Similar resolutions have been passed to date by seven of nine UC undergraduate student governments.

Read More | University of California Student Association | See Also: imc_photo.gifHistoric march for divestment at UC Davis photo essay
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UCSC Highway Six Back in Court June 29 & 30 Alex Darocy (1 comment)
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