March 2, 2011.
By Kelly Crawford
Thirty years ago a promise was made by the Administration of UCSC to establish an Ethnic Studies Department. For the past thirty years students have struggled to hold the administration accountable. This struggle continued today as students held a rally in the Quarry. Edgar Ontiveros, a student activist, numbered the rally at approximately 300-400 students.
Aside from the establishment of an Ethnic Studies Department the organizers had other demands. One of them: “The extension of the Ethnic Resource Center,” Says Ontiveros, “being that it’s half a floor. If they can expand the Express Store downstairs, why can’t they expand the Resource Center?”
The rally was organized by students and faculty, however as the rally moved above the bookstore into the Ethnic Resource Center (ERC) some of the staff were caught off-guard. “I did not know that this was going to happen.” Said Carolyn Dunn, Managing Director of the American Indian Resource Center and Cultural Resource Centers, “All of a sudden there were a lot of people in the Center.”
Although there was a temporary disruption, Dunn was please of the students’ respect. “Once folks were made aware that our work was disrupted…[they] were very supportive and moved to different spaces in the building.”
Dunn is no stranger to to Ethnic Studies as she has two degrees in the field herself. “If there is going to be an Ethnic Studies program it is going to need to come out of existing coursework.” Although funding is an issue for any department, Dunn does not feel it needs to be a road block. “We need to look at what is being taught now and put those classes together in a program.”
As this is breaking news, and discussions are still taking place at the ERC, the administration was not available for comment.
Students are circulating petitions for the program and can be followed on Twitter at “_since1981”.
Due to a break down of negotiations students have decided to stay on the top floor of the bookstore overnight. They have issued a call for support on Twitter: “We’re staying the night- Anybody nearby with blankets or sleeping bags please show some love and bring em to the quarry”