There’s no rest for the wicked.
This adage has never been more appropriate. Controversy and conflict continued through the summer as issues from Spring quarter remain unresolved.
The lawsuits filed against UC Santa Cruz by the City of Santa Cruz, county officials, and private citizens almost a year ago have been closed. Each party resigned itself to compromise on the suit that called into question the sustainability of the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). UCSC will continue with its plan to develop 120 acres of forest in upper campus, but it is now responsible for helping the city pay for infrastructural improvements to prepare for the growth.
However, the tree-sitters at UCSC are not ready to pave paradise. They still occupy several redwoods at the proposed site for a new biomedical sciences building.
The facility in question is also controversial off campus. Several UC staff members were the targets of fire bombings this summer, including several thousands of dollars in property damage by anonymous protesters opposed to animal research.
UC Regents’ complete disregard for student welfare may have many students needing bailouts this year. A new $490 education fee for resident undergraduates has students scrambling for cash. The UC Board of Regents’ vote in May condemned students to debt, and with a record number of incoming freshmen this year, financial aid is hard to come by.
The Student Department of Energy Lab Oversight Committee (DOE LOC) watchdogs the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. They claim responsibility for educating UC students, staff, regents and others about the UC’s affiliation with nuclear programs.
The members of DOE LOC maintain an anti-nuclear stance, and many representatives appeared both in May and July at the regents’ meetings hosted at the UC campuses of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, respectively.
After a compelling speech from 1998 Nobel Prize winner and UCSB physics professor Walter Kohn, in which he urged the regents to disassociate the UC with nuclear stock holds and research, student representatives from DOE LOC voiced the same concerns.
In August, two survivors of the atomic bombs from World War II also beseeched the regents in Irvine. No reports have been issued indicating that the regents intend to discontinue nuclear research.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a labor union, is seeking higher wages. Since their contract expired in Jan. 2008, AFSCME members have declared several strikes. Negotiations are still in the works. Faculty and students continued to show support for AFSCME at regents’ meetings, rallies, and strikes this summer.
The majority of men and women responsible for maintaining our campus earn below poverty wages. UC employees may earn as little or less than $10 an hour. Many of them have families to support.
AFSCME organized a strike and rallied at the regents’ meeting in July. Student speakers brought the issue directly to the regents inside the meeting. Last Wednesday, UCSC faculty and students offered their support yet again as AFSCME convened at Quarry Plaza.
Trees are being cut, the LRDP will have UCSC wanting for water by 2020, the men and women who keep our campuses running cannot support themselves or their families, and student fees continue to skyrocket.
Maintaining the integrity of the university is on our shoulders. The UC is a public institution and, as such, it is responsible to students and taxpayers. The student voice is a strong one — make it heard.