Letters to the Editor

Currents welcomes letters and publishes them in its online and print editions. For guidelines and how to submit, please see our Letters Policy.

Aug. 25-Sept. 6, 2008

Enjoying the view

One hundred thirty-six people answered the call of last issue's poll, which asked, "This summer has been a lovely one on campus. What is your favorite campus vista point?"

Two panoramic views tied for first place, each with 21 percent of the vote: The Pogonip overlook pullout on Coolidge Drive, and flying down the bike path through the Great Meadow.

A number of correspondents took advantage of the "Other" field to write in their votes. Readers praised views from Stevenson College, College Ten, Oakes College, and Porter Meadow. A few of the responses were ones we hadn't thought of:

  • View from the cliffs at Long Marine Lab overlooking the Pacific

  • The ARC courtyard

  • The Arboretum Aussie picnic area toward inner UCSC

  • The new 4th floor outside porches in McHenry


  • View from the Flying IUD

  • The bend in Porter Meadow

And what would a university environment be without its contrarian or challenge-the-establishment viewpoints? We also received some answers such as this one:

  • Are you joking? It's one big construction site!

We enjoyed discovering the nooks, crannies, and panoramic views from campus that are savored by the people who work here day in and day out.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our poll.


August 11-24, 2008

Most support biomedical research

A record number of responses flooded in to the poll in our last issue, which asked, "What is your opinion about using animals such as fruit flies and mice on campus for biomedical research?"

In all, we received 947 responses, dwarfing the previous highest response number of 387.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents (538) said they support such research; 34 percent (320) were opposed to it; another 6 percent (53) either weren't sure or had no opinion; and 4 percent (36) had some other perspective.

Many people wrote in thoughtful comments on the topic. Some excerpts from the comments (lightly edited for spelling and grammar):

  • While I believe that animal research is sometimes necessary, we should emphasize alternatives whenever possible. If and when we do use animal testing, we should treat animals with a maximum of care.

  • Should we argue about mice and flies, or should we confront some more dangerous issues going on in Santa Cruz? Are you really more concerned about mice than the thousands of children living in debilitating poverty in Santa Cruz County? What about the people who sweep mice feces off the floor at poverty wages? The arrogance and disconnect from real world problems among college activists is very alienating for me.

  • I am against all torture.

  • Would the world have seen a polio vaccine if Jonas Salk had not done "heinous" and "cruel" things to animals? How should we test new cancer and AIDS drugs: On humans with no clue of what will happen, or on animals, in a controlled environment, to first test their safety?

  • I believe that as humans we have the compassion and the power to treat all living beings with respect and equality. Unfortunately, the earth and all those who share it with us pay deeply for the advancement of the human race. While I cannot say that many lives have not been saved by sacrificing the lives of animals, I believe that we should not put ourselves and the human race above all else.

To view all of the responses in full text, visit the comments page.

Related links:

Thank you to all who took the time to vote and comment on this topic.


July 28-August 11, 2008

Read all about it

Last issue's poll asked, "What is your preferred source for UCSC news?" While 71 readers responded to the multiple-choice offerings, 13 people replied with their own answers using the "other" button.

Three readers wrote in City on a Hill Press. One mentioned the San Jose Mercury News. Others singled out the Currents RSS feed and the Public Information Office.

And then there's always the old-fashioned way of getting news, as one reader gamely pointed out: "Gossip."

For the full report, see the results page.

Thanks for taking part in our poll. Look for upcoming polls in future issues.


June 30-July 13, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things

In response to last issue's poll asking, "What do you like best about the campus in the summer?," 40 of you eschewed the multiple-choice offerings and replied with your own answers.

Many of the responses shared a familiar theme: Wildlife. Twelve respondents said they loved watching the campus's resident animals come forward when the hustle and bustle of the academic year subsided. Fawns were the most popular wildlife sighting, but readers also mentioned deer, coyotes, and summer migratory birds.

Another dominant theme was parking. Seven notes said more, easier, better parking was the best thing about summer.

Others said they appreciated the slower pace, the decreased traffic because of fewer students on campus, as well as more room on shuttles.

And then there were these responses:

"I just like to see change"

"The morning fog"



Thanks for taking part in our poll. Happy summer to all.


June 16-22, 2008

Article caught the feeling of inauguration

Just finished reading your wonderful article on Chancellor Blumenthal's inauguration in the online campus newspaper. You really hit the nail on the head by portraying the exact feeling we experienced on Friday. I was sorry that more of my coworkers did not attend--they missed a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article and reliving this special event through your eyes. I will print a copy to laminate and keep it with my program and ticket as souvenirs from that very special event.

--Robin Gordon, directors assistant, Staff Human Resources

June 9-15, 2008

Water polo program cut

On May 30, the powers that be at UCSC decided to cut the entire water polo program without prior notice given to any students or coaches who will be detrimentally affected by this decision.

UCSC is the only Division III campus in the UC system. When team members volunteered to continue funding the program through fundraising and donations--which other UCSC teams such as women's rugby do--they were turned down. Instead, they were to furnish proof of $40,000 in pledges by June 4, giving them mere days to meet this requirement.

Water polo is not a "big" sport, but it is vitally important to those who love the sport and have chosen UCSC based on their ability to continue to play. Doesn't UCSC want to attract a variety of students, including those who love sportsmanship and team unity in the less popular sports? This decision was made after students would be able to commit to enrollment at different schools, where they would be given the chance to continue playing.

--Julie Meyers

April 28-May 4, 2008

Proud to be part of the military

I am married to a United States Marine. We have three wonderful children, and we could not be any prouder to be part of the military life.

I recently read an article in our Military Times Report that stated the UCSC organization "Students Against War" protested military recruiters during a job fair on your campus (see Vigorous dissent, job-seeking coexist at campus career fair). I am extremely disappointed with the way the protest was handled, in which protesters shouted so loudly not even a recruiter could have a decent conversation with a possible future Marine or soldier.

This country is very lucky to have a strong military that continues to fight against terrorism and protect our freedoms. It is the choice of any adult whether or not to join the military. We do not criticize the careers of others--why, then, do they constantly stand in the way of allowing any person even just to speak with a recruiter? Without our troops and our recruiters, we would not have a defense team for our country, or a support system for other countries, or even be allowed to practice our everyday freedoms, including protesting. My husband joined the military as his career choice long ago, and now he continues to re-enlist to help protect our country, whether on our own soil or somewhere around the world.

"Students Against War" should try talking to the families of deployed service members. I am positive that this organization would get a response of how proud these families are to be American and serving their country.

--Elizabeth Rotenberry, Yuma, Ariz.

Campus lauded for outreach to newly admitted students

The recent articles regarding the campus spring yield efforts were excellent! (See Spring Spotlight offers a slice of Slug life; Chancellor receptions bring UCSC to prospective students) The campus really reached out to admitted students this year and the responses we've received from families have been overwhelmingly positive. I hope readers of Currents know that they've made a meaningful difference for thousands of students, and coverage like those articles only underscores that fact.

--Michael McCawley, acting director of admissions

April 7-13, 2008

Praise for Blood and Oil

I am 2007 alumni of the Environmental Studies and Economics departments. I took two classes with Dr. Richards and I just wanted let you know I appreciate the article on "Blood and Oil." He was in a close tie as my favorite, most engaging professor with Dr. Russell Flegal of the Environmental Toxicology department. Dr. Richards is amazing.

--Brendan Lange

March 24-30, 2008

Article downplayed animal testing

My name is Toni Longley, I go to UCSC and I read your article today (Breast-cancer researcher undeterred by protests). I have really strong feelings about animal testing and was kind of upset by your article. I think you should have written that while people are not testing "products" on the animals in labs at UCSC, they are still conducting scientific research upon living non-human animals that is uncomfortable, invasive, and sometimes lethal, which I think you downplayed but should have at least included. Furthermore, you didn't include the viewpoint of anyone from the other side of the argument. I don't know exactly what the protesters did, and I don't know who they are, but I can understand and would be willing to explain where they are coming from, and for the record this is not a threat that I would invade anyone's home. Thank you for your time.

--Toni Longley

Machining class left out

[Regarding the story, UC Santa Cruz engineering students win national robotics competition,] I was pleased to see that these students received recognition for their hard work and great achievement. Lots of hours went into the development of their climber. I was a bit disappointed that your article failed to mention anything about how these students completed a "Basic Machining" shop class to obtain the necessary machining skills needed to fabricate the mechanical portion of their project. I offer this three-week class twice a year to S.O.E. students to help them understand the basics of mechanical design and fabrication using shop tools and machinery.

Three of the students on this winning team--Bill Hogan, Kevin Hichborn, and Laurel DeMarco--completed my shop class in early February. They logged in 27 hours of shop use time while developing their project. These students were very creative, great to work with, and I'm sure they will go far in the future.

--Dave Thayer, Machine Shop manager