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On January 14, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new “recommended restrictions” on the use of chloropicrin, a cancer-causing pesticide used widely on California strawberries. Health, environmental and rural advocates say that DPR ignored its own scientists in developing the proposal, and that the recommended restrictions fall far short of protecting schoolchildren and rural residents from harmful exposures to the toxic pesticide.
In a continued series of actions to oppose the tuition hikes approved by the University of California Regents in November, students at UC Santa Cruz left their classes on December 8 and marched around campus and to the administration building. Some administrators and staff scurried out of Clark Kerr Hall as hundreds of students marched through the building; others stayed in their offices as the demonstrators walked by, pounding on the hallway walls. Many students also stopped to pound at the door of the office of the Chancellor, which is locked and fortress-like. Eventually a group rallied on the roof of the building and an open mic was held.
The student walkout at UCSC was the first major action held on campus to oppose the tuition increase since the six-day occupation of the Humanities 2 building ended the day before Thanksgiving vacation. Since returning from vacation, students have been organizing and have decided against making further demands of the UC administration. As an alternative to a list of demands, they have penned a "pledge to act" against the tuition hikes.
Read More with Photos and Video
Previous Coverage: UC Santa Cruz Students Occupy Humanities & Social Sciences Building
In Mexico and Central America, a tianguis is traditionally thought of as an open-air market where merchandise is sold. To create a space where community organizing skills can be shared, the concept of a "community action" tianguis was created by individuals in the Mayfair community of San José. The first such tianguis was held at Lee Mathson Middle School on November 15, and featured participation from a wide range of organizations working in the areas of health, education, labor, food safety, immigration, and legal defense.
On November 20, students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Humanities and Social Sciences building and plan to stay inside until the UC Regents roll back the tuition increases they approved this week. Student fees across the University of California system will raise by at least 5% a year for the next five years if the Regents' plan is instituted.
Occupy Our Education writes:
"The University of California was once a tuition-free and public institution. Now the students are facing yet another tuition hike. The most recent attempt to raise tuition in 2009 was successfully frozen by the courageous and necessary action of students, yet this week, the UC Regents have approved a 5% tuition increase each year for the next five years. This is in addition to the numerous increases that have occurred since the new millennium which amount to what will now be a 500% increase by 2020. Governors and legislatures have come and gone, and have continually spouted rhetoric without taking any action."
"In addition to tuition increases, students face larger class sizes, fewer classes, cuts to student services, and ultimately, are paying more for less education. Of course, these measures disproportionately affects those already marginalized--women, students of color, queer students, and many more. A private business parades in the mask of a public university."
Photos | Video: Cornel West Speaks at UC Santa Cruz Occupation | A Communiqué from the UCSC Occupation of Humanities 2
See Also: Actions Opposing Proposed Tuition Increases Begin at UC Santa Cruz
| UC Regents Committee Passes Plan to Increase Tuition; Student Regent Voted 'NO'
| CUCFA statement on UC’s planned tuition increases
| They want to raise tuition again
| AFSCME 3299 Blasts UC Tuition Hike Threat
| University of California Student Association Rejects New UC Tuition Plan
A Beehive Collective presentation originally scheduled as an event at the Gill Tract Community Farm was shut down with a week’s notice by Steve Lindow, the first researcher to do field trials of a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), who is now the Executive Associate Dean in the College of Natural Resources. Lindow claimed that the art show was “not relevant to the research at the community farm." According to a news release from Students for Engaged and Active Learning (SEAL), "The event highlights the privatization of water across Mesoamerica and the potential for water privatization in CA under Prop 1." Water bond opponents have criticized California's Proposition 1 as a sweetheart bill for water-intensive industrial agriculture.
The students said the event had been approved with strong support from community members, students, and the farm’s events working group. This was the first interference in farm events from the administration — and students feel that it is a clear example of repression against free speech on campus, with political motivation. Determined not to be silenced, students at the University of California, Berkeley brought the Beehive Collective’s art project on drought and Prop. 1 to the steps of Sproul Plaza, where 50 years ago students demonstrated for their right to disseminate political materials, kicking off what is known as the Free Speech Movement.
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Event Announcement |
A petition started by a student at UC Santa Cruz is calling for Chancellor Blumenthal to take the necessary steps to provide adequate housing and transportation on the campus. The petition also calls out the university's plans for expansion, stating, "we also believe that building into Upper Campus is NOT an adequate solution to this problem and will only add to the over-enrollment issue."
"After this first week of Fall Quarter 2014 it is clear that the housing and transportation systems of UC Santa Cruz are inadequate for the volume of students needing access to campus," the petition states. Students are asking UCSC to improve its relationship with the local area, stating, "the University must utilize and increase their community relationships to help students find affordable housing. Many students are sleeping on couches, living in hotels, and are paying exorbitant rents for dilapidated or crowded housing."
Related Indybay Features: LAFCO to Vote on Motions Concerning Expansion of UC Santa Cruz
|| LAFCO to Meet for Fourth Hearing Regarding UCSC Upper Campus Expansion
|| Longtime Santa Cruz Residents Forced Out of Town by City and UCSC
On October 9, Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” presented by the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Under Chief McMillin’s command, four unarmed Salinas community members — all Latino men — were shot and killed by officers in a span of four months. Sin Barras, a group that works to eradicate the prison industrial-complex, authored a letter to the hosts requesting that they ask Chief McMillin to step down as a participant.
Uniting students, workers, community members, and veterans of the Free Speech Movement, Cal Progressive Coalition (CPC) led a surprise sit-in at Capital Projects following the rally for the 50th Anniversary of the birth of the Free Speech Movement. Capital Projects is the real estate arm of the University of California Berkeley that is actively privatizing public resources, such as in their proposed commercial development of the historic Gill Tract Farm. The CPC action sparked dialogue across campus on how the UC continues to silence students through the privatization of the public university and increasingly militarized police violence.
The sit-in lasted through six hours of negotiation amidst speeches and chants that could be heard across central campus. Students, community members, and FSM veterans emerged from Capital Projects around 7pm calling victory on their first two short-term demands: a meeting with Chancellor Dirks and a signed commitment for documents that Capital Projects promised to share in May.
Mario Savio's Historic Call to Action in Berkeley, December 2nd, 1964
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.