Mendo's Future "For Sale"

By the Mendocino College Eco-Club

We, as active students at Mendocino College, would like to express our concern regarding the sale of land that was recently donated to the College. Two years ago, Mr. Thomas Evans, Sr. gifted some 1800 acres within close proximity of the Ukiah campus. As Natural Resource and Ecology majors, we see this land as valuable resource for use as field research lab, as well as potential example of biodiverse reforestation and Hensley Creek Watershed studies and restoration. Portions of this land could also be utilized as part of a ground-breaking sustainable agriculture program that we see in the College's near future.

See map of Campus area showing where land gift is located and what has been sold. (184K)

The Mendocino College Foundation, the Board of Trustees, and the administration have different plans for this gifted property. They have broken this land up into 13 parcels. Two have already been sold, one is in escrow, and five more are currently for sale. Of the five parcels that have been "set aside", they total only one third of the 1800 acre original piece. The Foundation officers say that the money generated from the sale of these parcels will go to scholarships and as an ongoing revenue supply.

It seems to us that the decision makers at Mendocino College do not have a vision for the future. They seem to see this property in dollar signs instead of the priceless gift that the college was so lucky to inherit. The potential for research, work, and study on this land are endless. And, the college would still generate income from this property without having to sell any of it. Grants from NSF as well as many other government and private organizations would fund monies for faculty, administrative and student jobs with the possession of such a large undeveloped tract of land.

Another example disturbing us is about this land deal is the fact that all the workings were done behind closed doors in complete secrecy from the community of students and faculty alike. We also wonder why the Foundation decided to list the land for sale with such haste. They did not do a detailed inventory of the property nor did they even consider surveying students or faculty to see what they would like done with our property. After all, the land is given as much to the students and faculty (present and future), as it is to those who control the Foundation.

Mendocino College has the opportunity to lead California Community Colleges in undergraduate research and studies. Mendocino County's two major sources of income are its natural resources and agriculture, yet Mendocino College is not known for having strong programs in these fields. Many students would like the security of not having to leave the county to go to school, get a job and simply others cannot afford to leave. Also, welfare reform estimates that more than half of the people on welfare will need to go to school by the year 2000. Mendocino County has one of the highest percentage rates of welfare recipients in the state of California. Where will these people go to school? Mendocino College is land locked by old and new vineyards alike. Our only option for expansion is through the use of this land. Remember the fight Mendocino College gave to build the college at its present location? Now the Foundation is willing to give up our greatest asset.

We question the behavior of the current Foundation, Board of Trustees, and Mendocino College Administration. We promote positive, ecologically-sound change based on student, faculty and community decisions at Mendocino College. If you are interested in being on a committee to discuss this issue please call 468-3096

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