Domes supporters to rally for community

Domes residents are organizing a rally in support of their housing community, which will be held in the Memorial Union on Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m.

The rally will include a celebration of the Domes at the MU patio area, followed by a march to Mrak Hall at 3 p.m., where participants will present letters to UC Davis officials. The on-campus cooperative is slated to be demolished this summer, and Domes supporters hope to convince officials to rethink the closure. The event will be open to the public with music by the UC Davis samba team, vegetarian food and a variety of speakers.

“Our goal is to have students on this property for continual occupancy,” said Veronica Pardo, anthropology graduate student and Domes resident. “Students have been here for 40 years and want to continue on.”

Constructed in 1972, the historic landmark is known for its experiential living facilities. Community members can learn from their social and community practices, Pardo said.

“The purpose of the rally is to show support for a community,” said Emily Galindo, associate vice chancellor of Student Affairs. “We are always open to hear what is important to students, to come up with a good solution.”

Domes community members have proposed a five-year cost-saving plan to preserve the community and address code compliance issues by partnering with Davis nonprofit Solar Community Housing Association.

Galindo said the university is looking at the Domes’ proposals.

“Negotiations are happening,” Pardo said. “We want to continue to keep this on the radar.”

Workshops such as Know Your Rights and Non-Violence Training have already been provided for rally participants.

“The training is to let rally attendees know positive ways to interact with [law enforcement],” said Lauren Cockrell, sophomore international agricultural development major and friend of the Domes. “This will provide ways to not unnecessarily escalate issues.”

Domes residents have submitted a petition online, which currently has 499 signatures. A recent letter writing campaign gathered 3,000 letters from supporters that have been sent out to UC Davis administrators. Over 1,000 of these letters will be publicly presented to administrators during the march to Mrak, according to a Domes press release.

The Domes have received $10,000 in alumni pledges and $20,000 from the Berkeley student co-ops. Recent fundraising has raised $3,000 as well, Pardo said. Funds would go toward renovating the Domes, should UC Davis administrators approve the residents’ proposal.

“The message we are trying to send to decision makers is we want administrators to work with us,” Cockrell said. “The community is worthwhile and it affects people living here.”

The UC Davis administration decided in January 2011 that they would not renew Domes leases on July 31 to current residents.

“There are no plans for the property after it has been bulldozed,” Pardo said. “Nothing long-term has been solidified.”

Members of the community ask that administrators allow the Domes to continue their residency under SCHA until a long-term plan has been devised.

The Domes petition can be found at change.org/petitions/support-the-domes.

ALICIA KINDRED can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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