NUZ: UCSC’s Latest Pulitzer News, Plus a Benefit of Ross Camp?

One big encampment may be reducing effects of homelessness in neighborhoods

UCSC has been crowing about one of its own alumni, Jeffery Stewart, taking home a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, a definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance.

The meticulously researched book explores Locke’s professional and private life—starting with his early education all the way through his time promoting the literary and artistic work of African Americans. Now a professor at UC Santa Barbara and chair of its Black Studies Department, the 1971 UCSC philosophy grad has spent his career studying race and culture as they relate to art, history, literature, music, and philosophy. Stewart is the seventh UCSC alum to win a Pulitzer, and this the ninth such award taken home by a UCSC alum. (Journalists Dana Priest and Martha Mendoza have each won two.)

Perhaps the school would have produced even more winners had it not cut its journalism minor a decade-and-a-half ago? But you know what college administrators say: Honor and prestige? Yeah, that’s great and all, but nothing’s more fun than cutting humanities and social science programs!


Police officers and park rangers have noticed that ever since the Ross camp opened, many of the homeless impacts elsewhere in the city have decreased. City employees say they have been finding less trash in many areas and fewer encampments.

It’s odd because much of the discourse around the camp is that it’s turning the entire Central Coast into a dystopian hell hole, à la District 9. Residents of the camp, which is now slated to close partly over health concerns, have noticed the targets on their backs. Campers say that opponents have been driving by repeatedly at odd hours blaring their horns or setting off fireworks—as if the whole homeless issue was a childish Little Rascals-esque battle and not a complex policy mess.

At the risk of sounding like the adult in the room here, many of the public safety hawks who’ve been criticizing the encampment might want to acknowledge that there have likely been benefits to the camp in other neighborhoods. Meanwhile, some of the activists who’ve been clamoring to keep the camp open might want to avoid denying the very real public safety risks that the Ross camp poses to the very people it purports to protect.

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