Access at play in glen decision

October 03, 2015

Chancellor Blumenthal and Campus Provost Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway wrote the following opinion piece for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It was published October 4, 2015.

Summer evenings in the glen, under the stars and surrounded by redwoods, are magical. We were fortunate to have enjoyed many of the Shakespeare Santa Cruz productions during its 33-year run on campus.

So earlier this year, when UC Santa Cruz decided not to renew the lease with Santa Cruz Shakespeare for the Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen, we knew longtime theater patrons would be disappointed. Many in the community wondered why we would do this.

There are two reasons. One has to do with using the glen for student productions during the summer. The other relates to the costs of facility repair and improving accessibility.

To keep the glen open, the campus would need to spend significantly, possibly up to $1 million, to make necessary repairs and meet the needs of a large theater production. In this day of declining state support, we must focus our limited resources on our mission to educate students and conduct the research that helps move California forward. As beloved as the glen is by the campus and community, we don’t have enough money to invest in it right now.

We made our decision and informed Santa Cruz Shakespeare soon after so SCS would have time to find a new home for next summer.

Now, with the summer season over, we’ll evaluate the site to see what we can do to meet the needs of our academic programs that want to use the site, such as a master of fine arts in dance that’s in the works.

We are saddened to end the long-standing partnership with SCS. Under the umbrella of UC Santa Cruz, we were happy to support the organization’s fundraising and operational needs over the years. We know that many on campus and in our community have greatly benefited from the experiences and opportunities afforded by SCS every summer. We continue to wish SCS well during this transition and in offering many more seasons.

We know summer evenings with King Lear or Macbeth on stage drew hundreds of community members to our campus and were an important community bond. We continue to offer many events on campus that are open to the public — plays, concerts, talks, art exhibits and more. We sincerely hope that the wider community will continue to visit UC Santa Cruz to enjoy what the campus has to offer.