City on a Hill Press (CHP) and Fish Rap Live! (FRL!) gathered at UC Santa Cruz’s Student Media Press Center on Nov. 5 for student media’s quarterly Chancellor Q&A, the first with Chancellor Cindy Larive. At the Q&A, Larive answered questions about labor rights, UC research in Hawai’i and more.
CHP: How does UCSC plan to respond to future PG&E power outages?
CHANCELLOR LARIVE: We have grown in our way of thinking about these events, and have come to the realization that this is probably the new normal for the fall, depending on the weather. We are lucky that we have our Cogen Plant, which helps to keep many areas of the campus lit. […] Interim EVC/CP [Executive Vice Chancellor/Campus Provost] Lori Kletzer has been working with the Academic Senate to figure out a way to make up for lost time and material. It is more challenging to make up for lost time, due to how the quarter system is set up. We could work with the Academic Senate to make a change within our calendar, which would be to start the quarter a day or two earlier, and possibly include a reading day before finals. However, we can’t change the academic calendar overnight, so we must work together in ways that can better anticipate unforeseen campus closures due to power loss.
CHP: At the [University Council-American Federation of Teachers] UC-AFT negotiations on Oct. 17, one [UC Office of the President] UCOP negotiator allegedly said it is not profitable for the university to engage with the testimonials they heard from lecturers and students. Does UCSC agree with this position? How does UCSC plan to support its lecturers, given the state of negotiations between UC-AFT and UCOP?
LARIVE: That is an interesting situation. The UCOP is in control of those labor negotiations. The chancellors have somewhat of an opportunity to weigh in with the president and regents, however we don’t have a direct role in negotiations. I would like to support our lecturers and all who do instruction at UCSC — faculty, lecturers, grad students and others. I would not suggest that listening to the testimonials doesn’t have great value.
FRL!: In relation to Mauna Kea, knowing that you are a chemist, we were wondering what your stance is on the pursuit of science versus the destruction of sacred land, and if you or UCSC has a plan to remove the UC’s involvement?
LARIVE: We do not have a strong role to play in this decision. The decision right now rests with the UCOP. This is a difficult situation, because we need to be respectful of native cultures and lands. As you may know, we have a land acknowledgement that we follow here at UCSC, that we follow with great sincerity. At the same time, the preexisting telescopes and the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea would produce great results. It’s hard to find a path forward that satisfies both of those goals. I personally am not in a position where I can discuss what I think the UC system would do.
CHP: What is UCSC’s response to the lawsuit filed by the family of deceased student and Theta Chi member Alex Beletsis?
LARIVE: We don’t have a formal statement yet, for UCSC is not, at this point, implicated in the lawsuit. It is a suit against the fraternity. Regardless, I feel great empathy for the family and great sorrow in the loss of life. I hope that we can help to create this idea as a part of our culture, an idea that we have to take care of each other, and for all on campus, ensure that students can have fun, but in a safe environment.
CHP: A press release from [American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees] AFSCME Local 3299 recently announced that the UC has increased its spending on outsourcing labor by 52 percent since 2016. Is UCSC’s degree of reliance on contract labor representative of this UC-wide increase? If so, are there any plans to reduce that percentage? If not, could you provide statistics on the percentage of UCSC labor that is outsourced and how those numbers have changed in the last three years?
LARIVE: [UCSC] is not representative. We have pretty limited use of contracted labor here. I think that is a good thing. It’s hard to generalize across 10 campuses. The medical centers are included in that percentage, and they are typically the place where contracted labor is more prevalent. I do not know how UCSC’s percentage of labor has changed in the last three years.
CHP: In regards to the ongoing Kresge Renewal Project, how is construction expected to impact students, especially those living in residential buildings that are planned to be demolished?
LARIVE: The plans for the renewal project are beautiful. There will be disruptions to people living there, but I know that those involved in planning the construction are trying to think about noise, which would be the most likely disruption, and ways to help mitigate that. Some construction will take place over the summer. They have tried to carefully phase the development, so that new buildings are being built, renovated and people can move into them, while the old buildings are demolished.
UCSC is currently revisiting its emergency plans, especially for fires and earthquakes. Recent California wildfires and PG&E power outages inspired these revisions.
There are no updates on a timeline to rebuild the seismically unsound buildings that house KZSC and the Lionel Cantú Queer Center. Chancellor Larive and Vice Provost Jaye Padgett have been discussing possibilities.
Given UC President Janet Napolitano’s recent announcement of resignation, the UC has begun searching for a new president.
There are no updates to Student Housing West. UCSC still faces a lawsuit from the East Meadow Action Committee.
The search for the new and permanent Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor (CP/EVC) recently began. The search committee encourages students to reach out and voice their input.