By Marc Abizeid

UC Santa Cruz administrators are issuing a series of statements in response to activists’ efforts, three weeks after students set up camp on Science Hill to express their dissent over the proposed Long Range Development Plan (LRDP).

Supporters of the anti-LRDP movement are concerned that the administrators may not be making a strong effort to understand their cause.

“We’re at the disadvantage since the administration has a monopoly on campus-wide e-mails, and they are really taking advantage of that to make claims that are just untrue or misleading,” said Chris*, a recent UCSC graduate and supporter of the anti-LRDP movement.

A first-year UCSC student and anti-LRDP activist on Science Hill, Jenny* spoke openly against messages issued by the administration.

“It’s funny because they say that we’re jeopardizing the safety and health of students but I don’t see how anything that we’re doing is hurting other people,” Jenny said. “We’re just trying to raise awareness and help students and the community at large, because the LRDP is going to put a strain on supplies and living.”

Jenny is concerned that the administration and student media are not fairly portraying the situation. She said, “The administration and some of the media are purposely misrepresenting us and ignoring all of our positive efforts.”

Fourth-year student and supporter of the movement, Russel*, was disappointed in City on a Hill Press’ (CHP) coverage of the events.

“I was really surprised to see CHP’s reaction with that front page graphic the day after the [Nov. 7th rally] by really highlighting violence, which was a very minimal aspect,” Russell said.

Following the Nov. 7th rally, UCSC chancellor George Blumenthal and campus provost David Kliger issued a statement in response to the demonstrators. The statement asserted that “instead of the constructive expression of speech through a nonviolent demonstration, the protest morphed into a dangerous example of inappropriate and in some cases illegal behavior.”

Kliger went on to call the movement “unacceptable,” referring to a prior disruption at the Student of Color Conference two weeks ago.

According to the anti-LRDP activists, the disruption at the conference was caused by an unfamiliar man who is unaffiliated with the movement.

“The only time we ever saw the man was the day when we were having a meeting and he came here [to Science Hill] and disrupted us,” Chris said.

Since the events of the Rally, Science Hill has been decorated with an array of colorful banners welcoming spectators and inviting students and community members to learn about their cause. They also set up a website, www.LRDPResistance.org, listing public events taking place on Science Hill.

“The first week, we had potlucks every day at 4 p.m. which attracted hundreds of students, and we’ve also been screening films and hearing music,” Chris said. “We’re just trying to bring people together to have a dialogue and build a community.”

_Names were changed for privacy_