Aerial photo of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology in 2022.
(Via Nick Gonzales / UC Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Unsettling ‘Cookie Monster,’ UCSC layoffs outcry, ‘troubled waters’ for surfers of color

A chilly good morning to you! It is Wednesday, Feb. 15, and we’ll see plenty of sunshine around Santa Cruz County, with temps maxing out in the mid-50s.

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We’re starting on campus this morning, with Hillary Ojeda reporting on the outcry that has followed layoffs at UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology. “It just raised so many alarm bells for people,” one provost says of the move to dismiss five staffers, including two who have spearheaded diversity and equity work.

On the Santa Cruz beachfront, meanwhile, sightings of a man dressed as “Sesame Street” character Cookie Monster have unsettled residents, with Max Chun reporting that police are urging people not engage with the man.

And just how welcoming our local breaks are to surfers of color will be the focus Friday, Wallace Baine writes, when the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History hosts a discussion on surf culture and inclusiveness. “Going back to the whole point of this event,” one panelist says, “it’s to acknowledge that there’s troubled waters.”

Wednesday’s headlines also include another helping of Lily Belli on Food, wherein Lookout’s food and drink maven dishes on the Cooking for Capitola fundraiser, previews Santa Cruz Burger Week and more — let’s delay no longer.

More than 280 faculty, students, alumni denounce layoffs at UCSC’s agroecology center

Plant Knowledge Event put on by the Asian-American Pacific Islander Resource Center and the Community Herb Garden.
(Via Nick Gonzales / UC Santa Cruz)

Seeing five staffers, including two who spearheaded diversity and equity work, laid off as part of a broader reorganization “raised so many alarm bells for people,” one UC Santa Cruz provost said. “It’s been stressful, like I’ve been spirit-murdered,” said one student who described two of the laid-off staff members as mentors. Hillary Ojeda has the story.

MORE FROM CAMPUS: UCSC graduate student union leader Jack Davies on strike, strong opposition to new contract

A man dressed as Cookie Monster on the Santa Cruz wharf
(Via @MistralWinds / Twitter)

Santa Cruzans have recently seen a man dressed as the Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street” loitering around the Beach Boardwalk and wharf area. Although the man has not been charged with any crimes locally, police are encouraging those who encounter him not to interact. Max Chun reports.

MORE: Tailed by controversy from New York to L.A., this Cookie Monster lives far from Sesame Street (Los Angeles Times)

Friends of SC State Parks PROMOTED CONTENT ROADBLOCK (Tribute Table program honors loved ones)


Santa Cruz County Job Board

That’s the lay of the land this Wednesday morning. Follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current on Santa Cruz County news throughout the day, and don’t forget about our breaking news alerts and our other newsletters, which you can sign up for right here.

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Go forth and conquer hump day, and I’ll see you on the flip side.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz