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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
On December 9, the Santa Cruz City Council voted 6-1 to approve the purchase of a $250,000 armored emergency response and "rescue" vehicle. The proposed purchase was placed on the council's consent agenda and was announced with very little notice, but the public quickly mobilized to protest. In response to the city council’s vote, members of the public broke out into chants of, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" and Mayor Lynn Robinson then had the chambers cleared by the police.
Robert Norse writes:
"Every single speaker opposed the acquisition of a new armored police vehicle at the afternoon City Council meeting. When two speakers turned their backs on the Council, outgoing Mayor Robinson made arrest threats, further heightening the tension in the room. At one point the Council left the room, leaving the community to organize its own meeting. They shortly returned, quickly voted in the police vehicle, without giving clear answers to questions about the deadline requirement, additional costs, and the potential for further militarizing the police force. Speakers began shouting "shame" from the floor. Police "escorted" one out; others raised the cry; police then cleared the chambers and the Council met (illegally) behind locked doors and drawn shades."
Read More | Protest Shuts Down City Council, Urban Assault Vehicle Approved, Anti-Homeless Law Delayed | Stay Away Stupidity, Oppose Police Violence & Chomp Coronation Treats! | Santa Cruz Police to Procure $250K 'Rescue Vehicle'
The Indymedia (Independent Media Center) project started in late November of 1999, to allow participants in the anti-globalization movement to report on the protests against the WTO meeting that took place in Seattle, Washington, and to act as an alternative media source. The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, commonly known as Indybay, started in 2000. By 2002, there were 89 local IMCs around the world spread between 31 countries (plus the West Bank) and 6 continents. By January 2006, the Indymedia network had grown to over 150 Indymedia outlets around the world.
As expected, the grand jury tasked with determining if there was enough evidence for charging Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown determined that there wasn’t probable cause. That night, on November 24, people in Ferguson and across the country began to rise up for Mike Brown and blocked freeways, city streets, and more. Fires were set, merchandise taken from stores, and, on Black Friday, BART was disrupted in West Oakland and shopping centers shut down in San Francisco. Protests continued throughout the week, culminating on the annual Black Friday shopping day and continuing into the weekend.
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
On November 10, peace activists in Santa Cruz protested a book signing appearance by Leon Panetta, the one-time Secretary of Defense and CIA Director. Panetta is currently on a book tour promoting the release of "Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace."
Bookshop Santa Cruz hosted the event, which was held in the sanctuary at Peace United Church of Christ, with a crowd of hundreds in attendance. By the end of the evening, five individuals were "banned for life" from Bookshop Santa Cruz, in retaliation for activities related to the evening's peaceful protest.
After the talk began, and Panetta was speaking in the Sanctuary, a group of four individuals dressed in white in the audience stood up and unfurled a long banner that read "Stand For Peace." The activists left, and when outside of the sanctuary, all four of them reported they had been "banned for life" from Bookshop Santa Cruz.
Additionally, Indybay journalist Alex Darocy was assaulted by a member of Panetta's security team while documenting the event. When Bookshop Santa Cruz manager Casey Coonerty-Protti witnessed the reporter's reaction to the assault, she banned him "for life" from the book store as well.
Peace Activists 'Banned for Life' from Bookshop Santa Cruz for Protesting Leon Panetta | Indybay Journalist Assaulted by Leon Panetta's Security at Bookshop Santa Cruz Event
Previous Coverage: Protest Against Leon Panetta for War Crimes
On November 4, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a second complaint against one of the world’s largest research antibody suppliers, Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. (SCBT). It alleges violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) from September 26, 2012, through April 22, 2014. Importantly, the complaint also requests the suspension or revocation of SCBT’s dealer license, a serious potential consequence given that USDA policy requires both a research registration and a dealer license for such labs to sell animal-derived antibodies.
The additional violations outlined in the complaint include repeated failure to provide adequate veterinary care — resulting in needless animal suffering — and repeated research oversight violations. The citations also include failure to provide fresh, nutritive food and ensure that procedures avoid or minimize animal pain and distress.
At the heart of USDA’s latest complaint is the grave charge that SCBT willfully refused to allow USDA inspectors access to an entire site housing over 800 goats “from at least March 6, 2012, through October 30, 2012.” When USDA inspectors were finally allowed access to the site, they reported finding goats suffering and in need of veterinary care. The inspection report from October 31, 2012, states that “[t]he existence of the site was denied even when directly asked” during multiple prior inspections.
Previous Coverage: ALDF Lawsuit Against Santa Cruz Biotechnology Animal Testing Facility Gains Support
|| Federal Investigations Reveal Severe Neglect of Animals at Santa Cruz Biotechnology
On November 8, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs shared food in solidarity with those who have been arrested for serving food in public in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Volunteers with Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs have been serving food continuously to the hungry and homeless at the same location, the Santa Cruz downtown post office, for several years now. An event announcement for the solidarity event stated, "No one should be arrested for helping the community. Sharing food is an unregulated act of compassion." Events have been held worldwide in support of those being arrested in Fort Lauderdale.
A new law that bans the sharing of food in public in Fort Lauderdale was officially approved on October 22 and went into effect on October 31. The measure requires feeding sites to be at least 500 feet away from each other, and 500 feet from residential properties. Additionally, sharing food in public is now limited to one group per city block. The issue received national attention when 90-year-old Arnold Abbott received arrest citations from authorities on two different days for serving food in Stranahan Park, which is located in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
At the November 8 event in Santa Cruz, Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry estimated that he has been arrested nearly 100 times for serving food to hungry people in various locations around the United States. Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs shares food every Saturday and Sunday at 4pm at the downtown post office. The Santa Cruz group had some brushes with authorities when first serving at that location, but since moving their serving location a bit, volunteers have operated without any further problems.
Read More with Photos | Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs | See Also: Dennis J Bernstein Interviews Keith McHenry, Founder of Food Not Bombs
On November 5, a woman died in the Santa Cruz County Jail. The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department immediately claimed there was nothing suspicious about the death, calling it a “medical event.” Sin Barras, a Santa Cruz-based prison abolition organization, has said the deaths were, "preventable in more ways than one."
Sin Barras writes:
"There is undoubtedly something suspicious about six deaths occurring in a jail within two years, especially in light of the recent Grand Jury investigation, which found most of the deaths to be preventable. Our jail is overcrowded with people who have not been convicted of crimes, but simply cannot afford to pay bail. Our jail is overcrowded with people who need drug treatment and affordable housing. These deaths were preventable in more ways than one. Do we need another investigation to confirm this?"
Read More with PDF | Sin Barras
Previous Coverage: Grand Jury Report on Jail Deaths Only a Snapshot of the Larger Picture
|| Sin Barras Rally at SC County Jail Held in Response to Recent Deaths at Facility