Santa Cruzans have one more chance to offer opinions over the name-changing of Cabrillo College to members of the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, July 19, at 6pm via Zoom.
The final choice for a new name will be announced at a meeting of the Board on August 7.
The five names under consideration are Aptos College, Cajastaca College, Costa Vista College, Seacliff College, and Santa Cruz Coast College.
The final five were chosen by majority vote from an original list of 400 suggestions by a diverse, volunteer group of students, alumni, and community members appointed to a Name Selection Task Force.
At public meetings this week, in Felton and via Zoom, trustees Matt Wetstein , Christina Cuevas and Adam Spickler listened to community reactions to each of the five names, and responded to questions regarding the necessity of the change, the fairness of the decision process, and the means of financing and implementation.
If you name it, funds will come (hopefully)
Only $2,500 out of the estimated minimum of $400,000 dollars needed to fund the change has been collected so far, raising questions about the viability of the project. The trustees have pledged that only grants and donations will be spent for the name change.
Wetstein addressed those concerns by explaining that serious fundraising efforts have not yet begun, pending the announcement of a name.
According to Wetstein, a dollar threshold will be determined in August that will need to be met before the work of applying the new name to signs and buildings begins.
Wetstein also ruled out funds from the Cabrillo Foundation paying for the change.
“It’s the College Board that’s making the decision,” he said, “and I want to draw a line between that and what the foundation does for supporting students and raising money for scholarships.”
Doubts persisted at the Wednesday night Zoom meeting when the trustees were at a loss to name a single foundation that might be approached for a donation “off the top of their head.”
Wetstein finally offered the example of the Ford Foundation as an organization that has donated to social justice projects without suggesting that they were a likely source of a Cabrillo grant.
Opinion continues to be split over the desirability of the three most popular name choices, with Aptos College and Cajastaca College at the top, and Costa Vista College remaining a contender.
At the in-person Felton gathering, debate was split over which name to choose, and the original decision to change.
Rich Beale, a Cabrillo graduate in the class of 1967, and his wife Tory, believe it was a mistake to undertake the process during the covid lockdown, and remain doubtful that the name Cabrillo pays tribute to the past in the current day.
Asked why those who supported the name Aptos College at recent forums were not informed of the passionate resistance to it from many Watsonville residents, Wetstein explained that his concern was to not sway or influence opinion by sharing the reactions of others. He continued to characterize resistance to the name Aptos as arising from “geographical” differences.
Use this Zoom link to attend the final community forum on Wednesday, July 19 at 6pm: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86103659537