Biomedical Research Facility protest: Facts & Figures


UCSC has worked diligently in its 42-year history to build a campus that respects and preserves its spectacular environment. That's one reason why UCSC is universally recognized and consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. It's also a reason why campus faculty and staff designated two existing parking lots as the site for the new Biomedical Sciences Facility and why the campus has designated 1,100 acres as open space in its new long-range plan.

Related Resources

. UCSC's LRDP site, includes official documents

. "Exercising Your Right to Free Speech" guidelines, produced by UCSC Office of Student Life

. Message from Chancellor and EVC about Nov. 7 protest

. Biomedical field possibilities are endless, April 2007 opinion piece by Stephen Thorsett, UCSC Dean of Physical and Biological Sciences
UCSC respects the right of all individuals to speak freely on our campus. The campus also has a responsibility to ensure that dissent and discourse do not interfere with the campus's academic and operational activities and that public gatherings and demonstrations are conducted in a safe manner. Toward that end, UCSC has "time-place-and-manner" policies that spell out our expectations and delineate areas appropriate for demonstrations.

About protestors' confrontation with UCSC Police on November 7:

. UCSC police officers were stationed on the Biomedical Sciences Facility site on Wednesday because they were asked to secure a heavily traveled pedestrian area made very dangerous by a predawn incident there. During the predawn hours, a group of people climbed trees, hoisted wooden platforms high above the ground, and, in the process, dislodged a number of heavy branches. Six of the individuals were detained before climbing into the trees, one was arrested, and two vehicles were towed. The campus police secured the areas under the trees.

. By early afternoon, a second protest occurred at another campus site. After those protestors marched to the first site, they engaged in a hostile confrontation with officers, who were positioned inside fencing. The fencing had been erected earlier that day to secure an unsafe site and preventing additional people from climbing the trees. The officers did not venture outside the secured area to confront protestors; protestors pushed down the fencing, confronting officers.

About various subjects raised by protestors:

Background on LRDP

. The faculty-comprised Strategic Futures Committee recommended in 2003 that the campus plan for the possibility of growth to 21,000 students by the year 2020. UCSC's 2005 Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP) was prepared in response to this recommendation. This potential growth, later reduced, was designed to serve the state by fostering the campus's academic development and increasing student capacity.

. The enrollment level-established as ceiling in the LRDP and used for environmental analysis in the EIR-was reduced to 19,500 by then Acting Chancellor Blumenthal. This was done in response to campus and community concerns about the impact of UCSC growth and in consultation with UCSC's Academic Senate. UC Regents approved this revised LRDP.

. The 2005 LRDP does not mandate that the campus grow by 4,500 students to a total of 19,500 in the 15 years leading up to 2020. Instead, the LRDP prepares the campus to anticipate the enrollment and workforce needs of a growing state population; the planning document provides a general physical blueprint for that level of growth should campus expansion be needed to serve future California students and fulfill the state's educational mission.

. The 2005 LRDP does not, as suggested, mandate development of 120 acres north of the existing campus core. Approximately 50 of the 120 acres mentioned are located in the existing campus core. If the Biomedical Research Facility is built, it would be constructed on 3 of those 50 acres. (These three acres are currently the site of two parking lots). In the 2005 LRDP, the remaining area-approximately 70 acres-are located north of the existing campus core. This acreage has been reduced from prior LRDPs-going back to the first one, in 1963.

. In the 2005 LRDP, existing and potential development would require approximately 75 fewer acres than was so designated in the previous LRDP (1988). The 2005 LRDP also designates approximately 250 more acres of open space than the previous plan did.

Student involvement in the LRDP process

. The process for producing an updated LRDP began in 2003, before many of today's students enrolled at UCSC. To suggest that students were not involved in the plan's creation is inaccurate. Students served on campus LRDP committees and produced a "student involvement" paper that presented their perspectives.

State investment in science and non-science fields

. Contrary to suggestions made by protestors, the Biomedical building-like all other academic buildings on this campus-is paid for by state funds (taxpayer dollars). State bond funds also have provided planning and construction money for the:

- Humanities and Social Sciences Facility, which opened last year, providing 51,140 asf of instructional and office space.

- Digital Arts Facility, now under construction to provide 27,000 asq of studio, instructional, and research space.

- McHenry Library Addition, under construction to provide space for a growing collection of print and electronic materials in the humanities, social sciences, the arts, and special collections-and an infrastructure to give students and faculty access to electronic resources and services.

Information on Biomedical Sciences Facility

. The environmental review for this building was conducted under the auspices of the 2005 LRDP. Because the 2005 LRDP has been stalled by litigation, the campus has no current timetable for construction of the Biomedical building.

. Community leaders, even some critics of UCSC's LRDP, believe that the Biomedical Sciences Facility will not only serve our students but generate meaningful research in areas such as public health and provide economic opportunities in biotechnology research in the Santa Cruz area.

. A research building, such as this one, provides opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students to participate in research and scholarly activities. Such facilities are essential for recruiting outstanding faculty, expanding programs such as UCSC's undergraduate major in health sciences, and attracting graduate students who will help meet the state's need for highly trained professionals.