Dean of Students Garrett Naiman speaks with students at the study-in. Photos by Lluvia Moreno.

About 60 UC Santa Cruz Students gathered at Clark Kerr Hall for a study-in on May 14 to demonstrate Engaging Education (e2)’s need for permanent funding from the Chancellor’s Office.

Members of e2 — a UC Santa Cruz student-initiated outreach and retention center —  organized the study-in after the chancellor failed to give students an answer to their demands by their May 10 deadline. 

As e2 members approached Kerr Hall to begin a peaceful study-in, the secretary removed chairs from the lobby. Members chose to either bring their own chairs or sit on the ground outside to study together and make their presence known.

“We wanted to show the administration that we’re students here advocating for funding to bring more diversity and more education to the campus,” said fourth-year student and e2 chairperson Menard Mayo. “It was a great time for students to come and study and be a community.”

e2 members have worked to secure permanent funding from the Chancellor’s Office for the past 13 years. Every few years, the student-run movement must negotiate with administration for continued funds.

This year, e2 met with Chancellor George Blumenthal in April to request permanent funding for the program. He did not provide an immediate answer, so they set the May 10 deadline while waiting on his decision. While nonpermanent funding can keep the programs running, organizers are seeking stability in their funding sources. 

Funding from the Chancellor’s Office supports e2’s retention programs and outreach services like Rainbow Theater and Student Initiated Outreach (SIO).

Members of e2 sit in the lobby of Clark Kerr Hall, conversing and studying together.

One of the program’s goals is to show high school students that higher education is not only attainable for them, but also that they will have communities to support them. e2 focuses on student diversity by outreaching to high school students from communities with limited resources and under-funded high schools. 

“Historically, [e2] has been made and created by students of color on campus,” said second-year student and e2 graphic designer Martha Lara. “Our space should be respected because we’re the students who give back to our own communities of color.”

About 60 percent of high school students who participate in e2’s outreach programs sign their statement of intent to register at UCSC. Programs like SIO could be jeopardized if Blumenthal doesn’t provide permanent funding.

Members of e2 were also dissatisfied with what they perceived as the university administration’s lack of effort when negotiating permanent funding. Board members said communication and transparency are important when working with the administration, but instead administrators often delay email responses to e2.

“We were getting really vague answers via email that were not answering our questions about funding, and we would even get email responses from administration outside the Chancellor’s Office,” Lara said, “so we wanted to send a message to the university of what Engaging Education needs.”

e2 members understand that dialogue between students of different backgrounds with diverse perspectives allows for personal growth.

“A lot of students of color came here because of [e2’s] organizations and programs,” said Rainbow Theater outreach coordinator Gabriela Hernandez. “UC Santa Cruz wouldn’t be as diverse if it wasn’t for the work we have done.”

Hernandez said the resources provided by e2 are important for students of color to feel more included in the UCSC community. 

The movement needs the respect and acknowledgment from the Chancellor’s Office to continue contributing to the university, Martha Lara said. Hernandez agreed. 

The study-in spread from the lobby of the building to the patio outside, where small groups of students gathered to talk.

“We’re worthy of funding not only because we’re getting results with outreach programs,” Hernandez said, “but also because we are genuinely changing this campus for the  better.”