Nicole Beaver and family outside Bay Fed's Capitola branch.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Criticism of UCSC’s Slug Crossing, Highway 1 funding snag and building a Bay Fed career

Greetings, Lookout friends. It is Monday, June 12, and the forecast calls for morning clouds and drizzle around Santa Cruz County, giving way to some sun later and temps mostly in the 60s.

The new workweek brings a full slate of new Lookout stories, so if you’re ready to just get into it, this way.
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With graduation ceremonies set to begin this week at UC Santa Cruz, many students and faculty members are decrying Slug Crossing, the pandemic-era approach to commencement that has replaced a more traditional speech-filled mass gathering. The university cites traffic and other infrastructure concerns, but that’s not cutting it for some, Hillary Ojeda reports. “Not having a regular commencement — it sucks. I was mad. I was frustrated. I was sad. I was disappointed,” says one fourth-year student. “Getting into a UC is such a big accomplishment, so why not celebrate us?”

Down Highway 1, meanwhile, a phase of the ongoing expansion project that’s slated to begin in Aptos in 2025 could be facing a budget shortfall, Max Chun reports, after state transit agency staff recommended against funding a $25 million grant. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission says it will continue to work on the project and plans to reapply for the funding.

Our How I Got My Job series returns, with Nicole Beaver talking about her path to becoming a Bay Federal Credit Union branch manager while juggling a young family and continuing her education.

The Monday headlines also include Wallace Baine lamenting the Age of Doomscrolling, an open letter from two drag artists in the wake of the anonymous homophobic and transphobic letter published in free weekly Good Times, and UCSC’s increasing efforts to counter antisemitism. Let’s have a look.

‘A glorified photo op’: UCSC faces backlash over ‘Slug Crossing’ graduation ceremony

Justin Davis, Stevenson College student council president
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

UC Santa Cruz replaced the traditional gathering of all its colleges’ graduates with a scaled-down experience, spread over three days, at which grads can receive their diplomas on stage. UCSC cites parking and infrastructure concerns and lack of a venue big enough in sticking with the pandemic-era ceremony, to the dismay of some soon-to-be graduates who’ve seen COVID rob them of many traditional academic experiences. Read Hillary Ojeda’s story here.

MORE FROM CAMPUS: UC Santa Cruz has struggled to create a unified campus culture. These students are trying to change that.

State commission poised to reject $25 million funding request for future Highway 1 upgrade

The bridge in Aptos damaged in 2017 storms is finally slated to be repaired.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Last week, California transportation officials recommended against $25 million in funding for Phase 3 of the Highway 1 expansion project that was expected to break ground in 2025, part of the $83 million still needed for the project. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission is moving forward with the environmental review and design phase, and the California Transportation Commission will meet again at the end of June to make a final decision. Max Chun has details.

MORE ON THE ROADWORK: Highway 1 overnight closures to last through 2024; final phase heading to community input Thursday


Santa Cruz County Job Board

Lots to digest as we embark upon another week. There’s more coming this Monday from Lookout, including In the Public Interest, Christopher Neely’s weekly look at Santa Cruz County politics and policy. You can sign up here to get that and all of our other newsletters delivered right to you, plus breaking news alerts via text and email. Following Lookout on social media is another great way to stay current — we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Wherever your journey takes you this Monday, enjoy the ride.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz