The day may come when many of the redwood trees and other flora north of UC Santa Cruz will be cleared. A wealth of perspectives have been voiced concerning expansion — and it is the staff of Growth, a new magazine focusing on the expansion, who wants to continue that discussion.
With this first edition of Growth set to release April 4, 2,000 magazines will find themselves spread across campus on benches, in libraries and on dining room tables. The new publication channels various viewpoints on the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), the university’s official plan to expand current academic, residential and administrative infrastructure into upper campus. The magazine voices the perspectives of students, administrators, scientists and indigenous communities, among others.
“I think it’s really important for dialogue to happen,” said lead Growth organizer Noah Miska, explaining why he hoped Growth would be a helpful tool for a variety of readers. “In the interest of figuring out where everyone is coming from, it is helpful to speak with people you might fundamentally disagree with.”
Miska said Growth came together through the collective efforts of staff from The Disorientation Guide (DisGuide), a yearly back-to-school guide introducing students to issues that often go unpublished in mainstream media. Miska, who helped produce DisGuide last year, said the two publications have different objectives.
“They serve different purposes,” Miska said. “DisGuide is an introduction to the university as a whole and a whole different array of political perspectives, whereas Growth is intended to focus deeply on this one issue.”
This one issue — the LRDP — was finalized in mid-September of 2006 by the University of California’s central governing body, the Board of Regents. Plagued by lawsuits and administrative difficulties since its inception, if the LRDP is successful the campus will expand above Kresge College, the UCSC Camper Park and Science Hill. Most recently, the plan’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) failed approval by a panel of California’s 6th District Court of Appeal on the grounds that the EIR “misdescribed the project’s objectives, that this misdescription skewed its consideration of alternatives, and that the EIR was inadequate because it failed to consider any potentially feasible alternatives that would avoid or limit the significant environmental impact of the project on the city’s water supply,” the ruling said. The fate of the LRDP is currently in limbo while that lawsuit plays out.
Despite this most recent development, Growth editor and recent UCSC graduate Zora Raskin said the publication is another step in a tradition of resistance to upper campus expansion. She said that she hopes this magazine will serve as a resource for future activists and other students at UCSC.
“Resistance to the LRDP is a constant battle that goes through rises and falls depending on court cases and what the UC is pushing,” Raskin said. “We thought this magazine would be important as a resource for future organizers and activists. So, to have publications like this even long after we’re gone, to lend history and hopefully facts and strategies to this struggle.”
The publication, composed of contributions from various campus groups, individual perspectives and interviews with top UCSC administrators, was designed to provide a space for dialogue among many points of view. Second-year environmental studies major Jack Mazza said he wished his contribution — a poem, placed from the perspective of forest dwellers — would speak for those who could not.
“There is so much nature and beauty right in our backyards,” he said. “I wanted to show this community of living things — not humans — that can’t tell the university ‘don’t cut here.’ I was trying to be a voice for them.”
Readers may find Growth in dining halls, cafes and other locations on campus.