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GIS Day 2012

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
GIS Day, November 14th, 2012

The North Bay GIS User Group is proud to host GIS Day at Santa Rosa’s Finley Center.

GIS Day is a FREE event and open to the public. Come by anytime between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to see for yourself how GIS is being used in your community and at local schools.

November 14, 2012
General Public: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Santa Rosa Finley Center
2060 West College Ave
Santa Rosa, California, 95403

More information


Campus protests…

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

The protest was was promoted as nationwide and at all levels of education – K – 12, college, etc.  But at California campuses it was directed at the California cuts to education that are part of the state’s budget mess.

Thursday, March 4, was a day to protest. (The local story for the action at Sonoma State.) A stage was setup. A guy with a guitar stood in a front of a microphone and sang protests songs. People held placards with “I am not a customer”, “I’m a student, not a paycheck”, etc. There was someone with a megaphone to rouse up the crowd. Noise makers were handed out so people could beat drums or make noise. As the person with the megaphone would rise each sentence with the declamatory emphasis, the drums would beat louder and the shakers would escalate. Faculty showed up in their academic robes to support the cause. Speeches were given.  I didn’t stay to watch much of it. The rabble-rousing seemed to go for about an hour (it could be heard through the windows of the room where I work). Then it became a “march” around the sidewalks of the campus. Drums, chants, megaphones, etc.  They then entered the administration building.

There is a first floor area in admin building where they have counters set up for handling all sorts of administrivia for people on the campus. I get my photo ID, my office keys. I drop off work orders to have whiteboards installed, wall switches repaired. Students pay their tuition bills, pick up their paychecks (for on-campus jobs), etc.  They call this area “Customer Services”.  The name sorta put me off, too, when I started working there.  I don’t think of myself as a customer of Sonoma State University. I can understand that the students might not like to think of themselves as customers, either.

The following day it came to light that one of the students’ demands was to change the name of  “Customer Services” to “Student Services”.  There was an email posting on the campus chatter list that a secretary in the dean’s office didn’t like the name “Student Services”, because she used Customer Services and she’s a staff employee, not a student. The chatter list got going, with suggestions that the name be “Campus Services”, or “University Services”, or – since the mascot for the campus is the SeaWolf – “Seawolves Services”.  Then someone pointed out the folly of wasting precious money to change the name of the department (letter head, signage, business cards, job positions, etc.) when nothing about the business functioning of the department would change. Then there was the email from the CFO saying they welcome the student’s participation in the next Campus Reengineering Committee on April 2 to discuss changing the name of the department.

Well, the cackling that ensued from the faculty and others who saw this as a typical re-direct by the authorities. Students protest over cuts to classes, programs, etc., while at the same time raising tuition and fees. The students hold a protest and it ends up getting re-directed into a discussion about what name to call the department that takes their money. Protests just aren’t what they used to be.

Faculty types weighed in on how education is not pizza. Students do not consume education. It is not a product that customers buy.  Now, I cackle. That education has become a commodity item that you buy is a horse that left the barn many years ago. College educations are all about selling credentials. You want a degree? So … then you fork over the money, put in the class time, write the papers, pass the tests … and CSU gives you a degree. You can then job-hunt with the credential you have just purchased. Perhaps your parents paid for it, but it’s still the same.  Students may not like to admit it but the students are, in fact, customers. And the administration is running a business selling credentials to them. And I am not talking about “diploma mills“.

I walked around the campus a bit to see what had become of the protest.  As the action continued outside Customer Services, the stage was being dismantled by working men with trucks and forklifts. The sound system was packed up and hauled away.  The workers and the capitalists. Same old same old.