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Letter

November 6, 2006

Protesters failed to communicate their message to UC Regents

As a former UC Regent and a UC Santa Cruz alumnus, I was among those surrounded in the campus lecture hall by protesters. While the protesters got the attention of the Regents, they were unsuccessful in communicating their message or proposed actions.

Three students signed up to speak in the public comment session, and provided effective input. Yet the opportunity for the public to see the entire session (there were scores of empty seats) was precluded by the behavior of the protesters.

Together with former UC Regent Dr. Jodi Anderson, I taught a course to UC student leaders on "how to provide more effective input to the Regents." We gave guidance on how to best use the public comment session, and also presented the myriad of other ways to effectively communicate to the Regents. Can students really affect the Regents? Yes--the Darfur decision (divesture of investments with companies doing business with Sudan) was a student-led movement. 

The Regents, all volunteers, gave up their own time to visit UC Santa Cruz to see both the physical beauty of the campus and the excellence of its academic programs. Unfortunately, the protesters attenuated that opportunity, seemingly without moving forward their issues.

Gary D. Novack, Ph.D.
San Rafael

Gary Novack, a 1973 graduate, served as an Alumni Regent during the 2004-05 academic year and is a UC Santa Cruz Foundation trustee.

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