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April 25, 2005

Tent University disbands after contentious week

Tent University (TU), billed by on- and off-campus organizers as a protest against traditional higher education and a rally for a number of social causes, disbanded at UCSC late last week after five days that included the arrest of 19 protestors.

TU organizers had advertised their event broadly on the Internet and in various print and broadcast media, inviting anyone to camp overnight at the entrance of the campus. UCSC policy bans camping, and general public access to campus is prohibited after 8 p.m. In addition, campus officials emphasized that the base of campus is inappropriate as a 24-hour-a-day venue because of its proximity to the Granary child care center and adjacent residential neighborhoods. Officials also expressed concern about their inability to provide overnight security for students in an open area at a busy intersection.

Through a series of meetings occurring for more than a week prior to the event, Student Affairs staff informed TU organizers of these policies and concerns, as well as the potential consequences of their proposed actions. Several alternatives, all of which were rejected, were offered to TU organizers regarding the time, place, and manner guidelines for their event.

On Tuesday evening, a day after the arrests, protesters decided to accept the campus offer to waive its camping ban, thus permitting the nighttime activities to relocate to the Quarry Amphitheater. Daytime events continued throughout the week at the base of campus, and a number of faculty members participated in discussions on the site.

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