Students Must Keep Regents in Check Over Long Range Development Plan

    UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
    — The first waves of the UC system’s 2004 update of its Long Range Development
    Plan are just now fully being felt, and with that comes the importance of
    charting the progress of the plan and its aims and directions. From a
    universitywide point of view, the LRDP has received mixed reviews, but thus far
    UCSD’s implementation of the plan has proven to be a paragon of university
    expansion.

    First created in 1963, the LRDP is now in its fifth edition,
    and prepares the university to accommodate any demographic changes that may
    occur through the 2019-20 academic year. The concept behind the LRDP is a good
    one: It is a far-reaching plan that hopes to continually improve the UC system
    as a whole, particularly the educational experience that each student receives.

    However, the LRDP’s major flaw is that it does not give
    campuses a detailed action plan for how to more forward with the LRDP. This
    essentially gives the UC Board of Regents a blank check, allowing them to spend
    money however they want in the name of progress. The document’s purposefully
    ambiguous wording creates loopholes that allows the regents to abuse it,
    potentially taking the UC system down a road that goes against the core
    principles of the enlightened nature of public education.

    During fall 2007, UC Santa Cruz found itself playing host to
    a major manifestation of corrupt regents’ policies via the LRDP. The university
    had begun the creation of a brand new Biomedical Science Facility, conveniently
    located amid a beautiful, ancient redwood grove. Protesting students and
    organizations had no problem with the idea behind the building, but were
    outraged by the regents’ decision to ignore the environmental impact report
    that specifically discouraged the creation of similar complexes in the existing
    natural habitat. The ecosystem on the UCSC campus is a very delicate one, which
    spurred the EIR to caution the UC system over disrupting it. The regents were
    blinded by the glory and profit that a new science structure would bring and
    pushed forward with their planned demolition of the redwood forest.

    A huge protest was held at the anticipated construction site
    — this rally wasn’t just a group of Santa Cruz
    hippies trying to protect the trees that they would have otherwise been
    hugging, but an outpouring of support by environmentally aware students who
    were enraged by the dishonest bureaucratic practices of the UC system.

    While peaceful lines of civil disobedience formed around the
    redwoods, Santa Cruz police let
    loose clouds of tear gas and arrested innocent students. This example of police
    brutality should draw attention to the regents’ wrongdoings and should act as a
    catalyst for UC campuses up and down the coast to mobilize against similar
    actions under the banner of LRDP progress. In dealing with UCSC’s LRDP, the
    regents showed an utter disregard for the ideas and input of students and
    community members, and acted greedily in their own interests.

    Fortunately for UCSD students, the local LRDP has been quite
    successful in sticking to students’ interests and looks thus far to accommodate
    the growing population without harming the environment. In drafting the San
    Diego
    charter of the LRDP, administrators made sure to
    put in place land-use limitations regarding the natural resources that already
    exist on campus.

    The maintenance of UCSD’s natural beauty will prove to be a
    huge issue while the LRDP attempts to expand the university to contain its
    ever-growing student population. LRDP projections assume that the student body
    at UCSD will jump to 32,700 by the year 2021, so the construction of new
    facilities and housing necessary to contain those large numbers will have to be
    done without tearing up the valuable surrounding environment.

    Similarly, the LRDP has projected that the sheer size of the
    UCSD campus will explode from 10.1 million gross square feet to an enormous
    19.2 million GSF over the next 10 years. It would be easy to destroy the
    remaining natural areas on campus, but again, the UCSD LRDP must be commended
    for its insistence on restricting any construction on the numerous designated
    ecological reserves found around campus. UCSD has not only made a point to save
    its lands in the face of possible LRDP-sponsored bulldozers, but has also made
    stipulations requiring the restoration of lands and parks in the area.

    The LRDP’s vague nature leaves room for malicious abuse by
    UC bureaucrats, but to date UCSD has avoided succumbing to the siren song of
    corrupt LRDP policies and has set the standard for sustained development on all
    UC campuses.

    The UC system must retain its moral standing atop the mantel
    of public universities; in order to do so it must follow UCSD’s lead and
    guarantee the preservation of natural lands while continuing to expand and
    develop all other physical aspects of the university.

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