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Recently, students at UC Santa Cruz reported to the NAACP that two incidents of "serious racial bullying" had occurred on the university's campus. In response, the Santa Cruz Branch of the NAACP together with the UCSC Women's Center organized a "March and Prayer Vigil to Stop Hate Crimes and Racial Bullying in Our Community" on May 29. Community members, including students from UCSC, marched down Pacific Avenue and to the Town Clock where songs were sung and a prayer vigil was held.
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. As the head of the Department of Homeland Security, she deported two million people. 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.
At the UC Santa Cruz rally, individuals spoke at Quarry Plaza, and a small group also worked on a decorating a large new banner that read "Education Not Exploitation." One undocumented student spoke about her experiences at UCSC, and several other students spoke about relatives who were undocumented and how it affected their education. Michelle Glowa, a graduate student and one of UCSC's contract negotiators for UAW, spoke and began by highlighting the most recent victory for workers at the university. "We just won the right on this campus to represent readers and tutors, so undergraduate students who are working are now going to be part of our union," she said. "If you are working next year, come join us!"
Graduate Student Workers have been without a contract since September, and in addition to attempting to negotiate with the university over wages and health care, they are fighting for the rights of undocumented graduate students. "One of our biggest demands, that we will not settle a contract without making serious progress on, is the rights of undocumented graduate students," Glowa said. "When TA-ships are not accessible to graduate students without documentation, graduate school is not accessible because we have to be able to pay our way through school."
Read More with Photos and Video | See Also: At UCSC Rally, Students Continue to Seek Napolitano's Resignation and Justice for Workers
| Janet Napolitano Visit Protested at UC Santa Cruz
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.
Monterey County had the highest percentage of schoolchildren attending schools located within ¼ mile of the heaviest use of highly hazardous pesticides, according to the California Department of Public Health (DPH) study. More than a quarter (25.1%) of schoolchildren (18,525) in Monterey County attended schools within ¼ mile of the most highly hazardous pesticide use. Over 46% of the county’s schools were located within ¼ mile of the most highly hazardous pesticide use. Monterey County schoolchildren were among the most at risk statewide, with the highest percentage of students (19.5%) near the use of carcinogenic pesticides, the highest percentage of students (22.1%) near the use of reproductive and developmental toxicant pesticides, the highest percentage of students (16.4%) near the use of fumigant pesticides, the highest percentage of students near Toxic Air Contaminants (18%) and the highest percentage of students (24.7%) near the use of pesticides prioritized for assessment and monitoring.
The detailed report Agricultural Pesticide Use Near Public Schools in California
was posted to CDPH’s website on Friday afternoon with little fanfare. The rigorous analysis shows that difficult-to-control pesticides, linked to negative impacts on children’s health and learning, are widely used near schoolchildren in fifteen of the state’s counties. This is the first time an analysis of pesticide use near schools has been conducted in California.
Read More | Californians for Pesticide Reform | Monterey Bay Central Labor Council
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 various 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.
At the Panetta protest, individuals held signs with the statements, "Jail Panetta", "What about the drones, Leon?", "Panetta Supports Torture", "Panetta is a War Criminal", and "Drone War is A Crime". Issues highlighted in literature distributed outside of the event included Panetta's involvement with drone warfare as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2011 and his involvement in the thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan when he was Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. The topic of Panetta's speech to the crowd inside was "America in the 21st century — is America in renaissance or decline?"
The group of students who interrupted the cocktail social at the Graduate Student Commons spoke out against the charges the UCSC 22 face. They carried signs and left several fliers attached to the commons bulletin board including a poster that read, "22 unjustly arrested so far, who will our admin take next?" During the social function graduate alumni mingled while sipping on drinks and eating snacks.
Read More with Photos
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!"
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.
Laurie Valdez writes:
My name is Laurie Valdez. On February 21, 2014, my partner Antonio Guzman Lopez was murdered at the hands of San Jose State University Police Department Sgt. Mike Santos, who claims he did it in defense of fellow UPD officer Frits Van der Hoek. The incident happened right by a childcare center and in front of a sorority house. Clearly Santos had no concern for the safety of others or the fellow officer who, according to Santos, was standing right in front of Antonio, thus placing him in the line of fire.
Thousands of people, though not as many as in previous years, returned to Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz on April 20, 2014 (also Easter Sunday) to celebrate 420, the unorganized annual counterculture holiday. All these people have at least one thing in common; a love for smoking cannabis.
On April 23, UC Berkeley removed all of the redwoods
behind Soda Hall, despite assurances some would stay.
On April 6, University of California Berkeley cut down the support foliage, including oaks, at the redwood grove behind Soda Hall. Larger redwoods have been severely pruned as well, and smaller redwoods have been removed entirely. Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm wants the lot for a $20,000,000 privatized tech design institute, named after himself. The UC and Paul Jacobs have been ignoring public demand to save the trees. By cutting down a protected species, the design institute goes against its own founding principals, expressed by Paul Jacobs, that that project minimize any negative impact to the environment.
Members of the UC and residents have been attempting to preserve the trees through legal channels, an email campaign, and civil disobedience. The UC police are claiming that tree-sitter protesters were going to damage the trees by living in them, but the UC damaged the trees by cutting them purposefully. Furthermore, the UC intends to cut down all the trees in the grove. The UC police cordoned off the the grove and the volleyball court behind Soda Hall with police tape, and have subsequently placed a metal fence around the area. Nobody is allowed into the public space behind Soda Hall.
The public groundbreaking ceremony for the Paul Jacobs Design Institute was held on Cal Day, April 12, behind Soda Hall. Save the Ridge Redwoods has called for a "wave of action" protest to defend the trees at Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue in Berkeley.
20 graduate and undergraduate students were arrested at UC Santa Cruz on April 2, and two more were arrested on April 3. UAW 2865, the union representing Teaching Assistants throughout the University of California system, called for a peaceful, legal strike in protest of management’s unlawful intimidation of student-workers, but were met with more of the same intimidation. Here's what happened at the strike at UC Santa Cruz on Tuesday, April 2, according to UAW 2865 representatives:
"The administration strategically chose to escalate the situation at a peaceful, lawful picket. Riot police were imported from UC Berkeley prior to the demonstrations. The Berkeley police are known for their willingness to physically assault both students and faculty at peaceful demonstrations. Wearing riot helmets and batons, and resting their hands on their weapons, police used conflicting messages to create confusion about what demonstrators could do to avoid arrest. First, police blocked both entrances to the crosswalk; then they said we could be in the crosswalk only when the “walk” sign was on, and then proceed to shut it off. Some officers then said that we couldn’t picket on the sidewalk or grass near the west entrance even after people had moved off of the street. The details of where people could be were not clear in any dispersal order. This mixed messaging was clearly part of a tactic to stop a legal, peaceful picket by instilling fear among demonstrators that they might be arrested at any time merely by being in the vicinity of the protest.
"The administration deprived UAW members of their legal right to picket. Shortly after union members and undergraduate allies gathered at the western entrance, they were confronted by riot police. A union leader was specifically targeted after communicating to administrators that the picket was about to begin. He introduced himself to Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway, and informed her that he was going to be exercising his right to picket, but that he would not be standing in front of cars or blocking traffic. Shortly after this encounter, he was tackled to the ground by police and arrested, along with a photographer who was documenting the incident. He had clearly stated that he was not going to block any cars, and he would be walking in the crosswalk. We have video footage of this arrest. You can watch clips of it here. Riot cops then proceeded to arrest 18 more students and union members."
Students are now entangled in the legal system. All of the arrested demonstrators have been released. Most of those arrested have a court date set for May 6 at 8:15am, in SC Superior Court.
Read More and Watch Video | Updates from Wednesday, April 2 | Interviews at UCSC Graduate Student Workers ULP Strike after Arrests | In Solidarity with UAW and the UCSC 20 | UCSC Faculty Letter to EVC Galloway and Chancellor Blumenthal on April 2 Arrests | UCSC 20 Becomes the UCSC 22 | UCSA Resolution in Support of UAW Strikers and Student Protest Climate at UC | Marching on the UCSC Police Station on April 3 | Petition: Janet Napolitano: Drop the Charges Against the UCSC 22 | Riot Squads Return, Police Shut Down UCSC Campus on Second Day of UAW Strike | IBEW Wildcat Honors Picket-Line in Solidarity with UAW Strike at UC Berkeley | Class Size and Class Struggle: Organizing Lessons from the UCSC Strike | We Refuse to Accept That Violence Against Us Is Necessary to the Sustenance of Our Education | Why We Are Striking | UCSC Graduate Student Workers Plan to Strike April 2-3
Donald Williams Jr., a black student at San Jose State University, filed a $5 million claim on March 19 against the institution, which alleges breach of contract, breach of duty, negligence, and violation of the Unruh Act. The claim stems from alleged hate crimes committed against Williams in his SJSU dorm room by three of his housemates in the Fall of 2013.
On March 5, students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Hahn building in an ongoing resistance to the appointment of Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. The occupation follows a march to Kerr Hall on February 26, when students attempted to enter the offices of UCSC's Chancellor. Support for UC workers is central to the demands of student demonstrators, and over the course of the recent protests, labor victories have been gained as the university has given into demands by Graduate Student Workers and AFSCME Workers in separate negotiations.
Student protests against Napolitano, the former head of homeland security who was involved with the deportation of over 1.5 million undocumented Americans, have been widespread across the University of California system. UCSC students protested the appointment of Napolitano during her visit to the Santa Cruz campus on October 18, and they organized their most recent demonstrations in solidarity with students at UC Berkeley, who occupied the Blum Center on February 13.
Following two major victories for workers, labor groups have expressed appreciation for the student demonstrations. On February 27, AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) Local 3299 announced they had reached what they called a "historic" tentative contract agreement with the University of California. On March 4, Graduate Student Workers at UC Santa Cruz announced that, after two days of discussions, management had given in to all of their demands. They say that there will be no more underpaid undergrad TAs, back pay ($6000 each) for all those who've already been in that position will be paid, there will be a serious reduction in TA workload for poorly planned Arts department classes, and a committee will be established to make recommendations for class-sizes with equal voices for labor and management.
UCSC Students Shut Down Registrar, Occupy Hahn Building | Photos | Students End Hahn Occupation | March 5-6 UCSC Hahn Occupation Statement from Autonomous Students
See Also: UCSC Graduate Student Workers Receive Demands, Cancel Strike
| As UC Continues Bad Faith Bargaining with Patient Care Workers, ULP Strike Vote Scheduled
| AFSCME 3299 Cancels Strike, Announces "Historic" Agreement for UC Service Workers
| At UCSC Rally, Students Continue to Seek Napolitano's Resignation and Justice for Workers
| UC Student Worker Justice Network Demands Fair Contract for AFSCME 3299 Workers
| UC Service Workers Announce Five Day Strike
| Janet Napolitano Visit Protested at UC Santa Cruz
Related Indybay Feature: UC Berkeley Students Occupy Blum Center
On March 1, urban farmers demonstrated at Sprouts grocery chain locations in Petaluma, Fremont, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. The farmers held banners, distributed flyers, and mic-checked messages urging customers to shop elsewhere until the chain agrees not to pave over the historic Gill Tract farm in Albany.
These actions come in the wake of similar actions throughout the week. Farmers oppose plans to develop the Gill Tract, a prime piece of agricultural land administered by UC Berkeley, which has subdivided and developed the original 104 acre plot so that only 20 acres remain. For more than fifteen years community members have been working to preserve the land for urban farming and participatory agricultural research. Sprouts “Farmers Market” is now poised to pave over that precious community resource to build another grocery store. The group organizing the action, Boycott Sprouts, is asking shoppers to patronize other stores until Sprouts backs away from the development deal.
On March 5th, the Albany City Council approved paving six acres of the Gill Tract. In response to the council's vote, Occupy the Farm has called for a rally on March 12
Read More |
Occupy the Farm rally in response to City Council decision March 12 |
“Reclaiming the Commons: Uniting for Our Shared Future” will take place on Friday, March 7
from 6 – 8:30 PM at UC Santa Cruz. From food and water to media and education, how can we reclaim the commons in our communities? This event will feature a keynote address from City Repair Project
founder Mark Lakeman, a free vegetarian dinner, and World Cafe style conversation about possibilities for public placemaking and reclaiming the commons in Santa Cruz.
City Repair is an organized group action that educates and inspires communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live. City Repair began in Portland, Oregon with the idea that localization - of culture, of economy, of decision-making - is a necessary foundation of sustainability. By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, we plant the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empower our communities and nurture our local culture.