The plan to rename Cabrillo College took a big step toward completion during a community forum at the Cabrillo campus on June 14.
An audience of over 70 eager participants, mostly seniors, members of the public and Cabrillo faculty, came to hear the result of several years of research and community suggestions.
Cabrillo president Matt Wetstein revealed the final five potential names chosen by a board-appointed Name Selection Task Force. The task force is comprised of students, alumni, and community members of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
The announced potential names are:
- Costa Vista, Spanish for “coast view,” a name that reflects the panoramic view from Cabrillo’s upper campus.
- Seacliff, the name of a nearby unincorporated community.
- Aptos, an Ohlone Indian word meaning “the people.” The Aptos people were one of the larger Awaswas tribes.
- Santa Cruz Coast. “Santa Cruz” is Spanish for “Holy Cross” a name that originated with the Spanish missionaries.
- Cajastaca, the name of a village of the larger Aptos tribe, meaning “the place of the jack rabbit.”
Wetstein described in detail the criteria for name consideration. Potential name candidates were to be rooted in Cabrillo’s values or rooted in a geographic touchstone and could not be the name of an individual person. In addition, names needed to meet practical criteria that included exclusivity, availability, and the necessity to have a non-offensive translation into Spanish.
Wetstein also renewed a pledge by the Trustees to cover the expense of changing the name through grants and donations, with no Cabrillo funds to be used to replace signage, legal fees or other costs outside of the normal school budget.
Christina Cuevas, a Cabrillo governing board trustee and chair of the board’s Name Selection Task Force, opened the forum by explaining the years-long process that brought the college to this turning point.
In 2020 an alliance of faculty and students petitioned the Cabrillo Board of Trustees to rename the college, citing Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s participation the violent subjugation of the Aztec Indians, exploitation of indigenous people’s labor, and role in the colonization of California. Later that year the Board created a subcommittee to research Juan Cabrillo and make a recommendation regarding the name change.
A 60-page report delivered in the fall of 2022 recommended a change. The Trustees ultimately voted their agreement by a vote of 6-1, with the dissenting vote cast in a disagreement over process, not an endorsement of retaining the name Cabrillo.
The subcommittee will hold several more community meetings to hear feedback and discuss the new names with the public. The college’s board of trustees will make the final decision on the new name sometime this summer.
Two more public community forums will be held in coming weeks:
- 6 p.m. June 28 at the Watsonville Center, Room A-130, 318 Union St., Watsonville.
- 6 p.m. July 12 at the Felton Library, 6121 Gushee St., Felton
- Links to two additional forums, online via Zoom, can be found at: cabrillo.edu/governing-board/name-exploration-subcommittee/ in addition to an online form in which to register thoughts and opinions about the offered new names.