Saturday, April 5, 2008

Support D-Q University

D-Q U students: "We want to be a sovereign farm co-op. We want to focus on the spiritual and the environmental aspect of things."

Interview with Manuel, who was arrested on February 20 at D-Q U:

"D-Q University has become a corporation. Accredation means you're recognized by other corporations that recognizes that you have transferable college credits."

"It's a business. We want to have something separate but keep the D-Q in there because that represents our spiritual battle. Over time the corporation of D-Q became too focused on what a mainstream accredited college is supposed to be. That's what a business is. Keeping the business alive is the primary goal of the corporation."

"The administration and board since the 1970's have made crooked deals to get money out of the land. Group after group used D-Q and disappeared. There were two boards in a row, the students caught them with financial mismanagement and fraud. They were signing up students for financial aid without their knowledge and keeping the money. They let the university die."

"There was a political and spiritual movement. MECHA [Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan] and AIM [American Indian Movement] arose up and took back this land. If you model yourself after a white institution you become institutionalized, and now they're part of it. It's not what D-Q used to be."

"I'm here because this is the 11th hour, the Eagle and the Condor Prophecy. We're doing this for the 7th generation. We are the leaders. We can't look to our elders or the 'leaders'."

List of Needs:
-People to come and stay there
-Coming Out to D-Q to let people know what's going on
-Teachers and Students
-Civil Rights Attorneys
-Food (veggies, bread, water, etc)
-Fire Wood
-People with trucks
-Gardening Tool, Shovels, Hoses, chainsaws, lawnmowers, automotive tools, generators
-Diesel Fuel for tractors
-fruit trees, seedlings, seeds, seed banks
-fencing, fence posts,
-vegetable oils
-diesel cars that can be donated


Two more occupants of D-Q University were arrested Wednesday morning, after patrolling Yolo County Sheriff's deputies spotted them on the grounds.

Aaron Yazzie, from Davis, and Robert Fofrich, from Fontana, were arrested at 4:05 a.m. and cited for trespassing and damaging property. They were released with a notice to appear in court later.

Christopher Yazzie, 26, said his brother Aaron and Fofrich were arrested during a ceremonial sweat. The grounds for the sweat house are located toward the back of D-Q's property.

"We feel that the Yolo Sheriff has desecrated a sacred place for us, which means a lot," Yazzie said. "That's our sacred church.

Yazzie is seen as a leader among the occupants, who have already started to return to D-Q after 18 were arrested on Monday. One of the occupants, who stayed in a tree and waited out the deputies, according to an IndyMedia posting by San Jose State student and D-Q occupant Lupita Torres, 26.

Board of Trustees member Jane Elliot said there was no one on the grounds as of Wednesday. Two people that had come to get their belongings were allowed on the grounds. Otherwise, the campus is locked up, with wires across the long driveway to prevent cars from entering.

The 18 arrested occupants were cited for trespassing with a notice to appear in court. Several others escaped by running out the back; Torres said she was a member of the media. Sheriff's spokesperson Michele Wallace said the raid had been planned in advance.

Since the first raid on Feb. 20 of this year, 23 arrests have been made at D-Q University.

The arrests prompted at least one call for the Board of Trustees to fully resign, or face the loss of D-Q. Rita Montes-Martin, an activist from Davis who has a long history D-Q, wrote in an e-mail to Trustee Margaret Hoaglin that their legacy would be the closing of D-Q, and its loss back to the federal government. Trustee Jane Elliot said none of the board members will resign.

D-Q has been closed since 2005, when it lost its federal funding and endowment, and then lost its accreditation with the state.

Occupants contend they are still holding classes at D-Q in part to prevent the government from reclaiming the land. A posting on the university's unofficial MySpace page shows Christopher Yazzie, and several others, working on the land to plant a garden as recently as this past Sunday. They also say they have a bio-diesel program running, as well as cultural classes.

The arrests are just one of many incidents that divided people on exactly what to do about D-Q University.

Board liaison Susan Reece, an original staff member of D-Q and its unofficial historian, said the board is considering a charter- or vocational-school option, either of which requires no accreditation from the state.

However, many such schools also receive no state or federal funding for helping students pay for their tuition. Several students that attended D-Q University before it closed used federal Pell grants to afford tuition, according to U.S. Department of Education documents, but after the DOE found many of the grants had been misused or applied, they withdrew funding.

The next board meeting has yet to be scheduled. Occupants have scheduled a pow-wow Sunday that includes a chance to nominate and elect representatives.

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