Santa Cruz Indymedia : http://santacruz.indymedia.org
Home
Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL News :: Education & Youth : Peace & War

“We Vote No!� Students Protest Regents’ Decision to Bid on Nuclear Labs

When Regent Blum, who seeks to profit $25 million dollars from the contract, spoke, students waved dollar bills in the air. They also were rather animated with thumbs down, hissing and an occasional laugh at the notion of “national service� which characterized many of the regents’ attitudes toward the labs.
regentsmeet4.jpg
Students disrupted the Regents Meeting after being denied enough time to speak.
(photo: josh sonnenfeld)
“We Vote No!�

Students Protest Regents’ Decision to Bid on Nuclear Labs

By Marla Zubel, Project Collective


On Wednesday, May 25, the UC Regents witnessed a passionate display of concern and anger at the University of California’s decision to bid with corporate war profiteer, Bechtel, for the nuclear weapons labs at Los Alamos.

More than fifty UC students, mostly organized by UC Santa Cruz’s Students Against War (SAW), and two NGOs (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Tri-Valley CAREs) attended the UC Regents meeting at UC San Francisco. At the Wednesday meeting a committee of UC regents (the finance committee and the committee for “oversight of the energy department labs�) and Bechtel representatives discussed and voted to join forced in order to make their bid for the management of the labs more “competitive.� The University of Texas in a similar fashion has teamed up with Lockheed Martin to bid for the lab contract.

At 8:00 a.m., the regents meeting began with a 30-minute public comment period. People were allotted a minute and a half to speak on whatever issue they wanted, but due to the nature of this meeting everyone who spoke (mostly UCSC students) used this limited opportunity to voice opposition to UC’s management of the nuclear weapons labs and their proposed partnership with Bechtel. When the 30 minutes came to a close many more students still wished to speak. When they were denied this opportunity they began protesting. Student unfurled banners that they had snuck in past the security, raised their fists and chanted “We will not be silenced in the face of UC violence!� The regents immediately left through the back door as a squad of about 15 police and security guards filed in and declared the protest an unlawful assembly, ordering the students to leave the premises or risk arrest.

At this point, in a highly organized, beautiful display of spontaneous democratic process, the students held a meeting in which they voted that they would like to stay to witness the regent’s vote on the labs and therefore would remain silent. The regents consented to this agreement and filed back into the auditorium only to witness students tying their blue solidarity armbands around their mouths to symbolize the silencing of students and overall lack of student participation. Based on their facial expressions, this seemed to irritate and aggravate many of the regents.

But the students were not prevented from displaying their opposition throughout the rest of the meeting. When Regent Blum, who seeks to profit $25 million dollars from the contract, spoke, students waved dollar bills in the air. They also were rather animated with thumbs down, hissing and an occasional laugh at the notion of “national service� which characterized many of the regents’ attitudes toward the labs. The only regent to oppose the management of the labs was vice president of the Alumni Association, Gary D. Novack.

After a lengthy meeting between regents and corporate representatives the committee voted to bid and again the students jumped up in protest. They ripped the armbands off of their mouths and shouted, “We vote no!� Again the regents filed out of the room and the cops swarmed in. This time the students and NGO’s left in disgust to hold a rally/press conference outside. But when the meeting reconvened, no one who was thought to be associated with the protesters was allowed back into the “public meeting.�

The next day the rest of the regents, including the appointed student regent, followed the suggestion of the lab committee’s and voted 11-1 to bid with Bechtel for Los Alamos. The Department of Energy and Congress will determine this summer whether the UC will continue it’s 62-year contract or if the University of Texas and Lockheed Martin will take over management of the labs.
 
 


New Comments are disabled, please visit Indybay.org/SantaCruz

Calendar

No events for this day.

view calendar week
add an event

Views

Media Centers

Syndication feeds

Account Login

This site made manifest by dadaIMC software