The University of California Student Association (UCSA) voted in early August to campaign for the preservation of Cal Grants by pushing the state to amend its constitution.
The campaign came in response to Gov. Swarzenegger’s proposed state budget revision that opts to phase out Cal Grants starting in 2011. If Cal grants are not made permanent prior to that date, nearly half the undergraduate population at UCSC could eventually be affected.
Despite opposition from various groups and individuals, including regent and Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, the board approved a plan that will require each member of the 180,000 UC workforce to take between 11-24 unpaid days, off depending on salary level.
If the plan is also approved by labor unions in contract with the university, top earners making over $240,000 could expect to see the largest salary reduction, while those making under $40,000 could expect to see the smallest. Overall, employees could see a 4-10 percent pay reduction for twelve months, starting Sept. 1 2009.
Just past the seven-store town of Davenport, 12.5 miles north of UC Santa Cruz on Highway 1, stretches a little slice of paradise.
Swanton Berry Farm, this lush, utopian place, includes forty acres of rich, fertile soil from which ruby-red strawberries, sunflowers and a dozen other foodstuffs burst. Old Army barracks sit nearby and now serve as low-cost housing, and the former mess hall today turns out mouth-watering masterpieces.
Whether you were lounging on a beach in Acapulco, hiking the Himalayas or biking down the Pacific Coast Trail, the world kept on turning and the news kept on coming. Here is a recap of the things that might have slipped under your radar this summer and a taste of what kind of stories to expect from City on a Hill Press this year.
Down the hill from the Porter Meadow in the shadow of Empire Grade’s steady traffic, a quintessential UC Santa Cruz landmark lies hidden but not forgotten.
Part of the Cave Gulch system, it is the Empire Cave, more commonly known as the “Porter Caves.”
The Cave Gulch cavern system also includes the “Hell Hole Cave,” part of Wilder Ranch State Park, located just off campus. The exterior walls of these caverns differ only marginally from the surrounding surface level ecosystems except for their graffiti-covered walls and the orphaned beer bottles and abandoned aerosol cans resting on the ground. Inside the caves, however, are animal habitats not found anywhere else in the world.
At the beginning of the fall 2008 quarter, total freshmen enrollment at UC Santa Cruz tallied in around 4,573 students.
This fall 2009, campus admission officials estimate that number will drop to under 3,850.
What’s the budgetary bottom line of this decrease?
About 2,675,100 fewer registration and measure dollars and 735,291 fewer educational fee dollars coming into UCSC this school year piled atop ongoing UC system-wide budget cuts.
I remember my first musicianship lab, an often tedious requirement in the Music Department that accompanies any introductory music theory course at UCSC. When my roommate and I got to class, our TA, Nick, was zoned out, staring off at the wall, and effortlessly conjuring one obscure chord after another.
I’d always loved music, and had a relatively easy time absorbing the mathematics of western notation, but the one thing that frightened me most was the idea of sight-singing, or, more colloquially, reading a melody off a piece of paper and singing it in front of the class.
You’d hardly know him.
He wears a tan floppy hat, thin wire glasses, an ordinary grey sweatshirt with an Easter yellow collar peeking though, faded jeans, and dirty grey shoes. The pink plastic flowers adorning his feet are the only visible clues to his identity.
The hunt for Robert Steffen, one of Pacific Avenue’s unique and regular characters, was no simple task. It took three days and the entrusting of a personal phone number with a homeless man. But when Steffen finally returned the call, there was certain excitement and urgency in his voice.
More commonly known as “The Pink Umbrella Man” or simply “The Pink Man,” Steffen has abandoned his family life as a NASA electrical engineer only to wind up a homeless Santa Cruzan spending his days shuffling endlessly around, and left, ultimately, alone.
For years, UCSC has been praised throughout the country as the pinnacle of alternative education; UCSC has long been portrayed and idealized as a campus with a unique community and liberal ideology, paving the way for progressive curriculum and alternative fields of research.
But times have changed; what once began as a showcase for cross-disciplinary undergraduate education, innovative teaching methods and contemporary architecture has since evolved, perhaps unavoidably, into a public university of the highest order.
Homegrown harvests and bread baked by the family down the street. Medical care subsidized by local taxes and available to all residents of a municipality. Mixed-use housing, water catchment systems galore, walkable neighborhoods and thriving community connections.
Transition Santa Cruz, a citizen coalition that educates and acts on the principles of personal and community resilience in a future devoid of cheap oil, believes all of these and much more are possible in a post -petroleum world.