The Lumberjack student newspaper

Getting Polytechnical

Student and faculty forum discusses polytechnic identity, challenges, and concerns

Over 130 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members tuned in to the polytechnic open forum last week. The forum provided an opportunity for students and faculty to come together and discuss perspectives. Participants came with varied feedback and concerns about the polytechnic change.

Several graduate students came prepared with a statement and questions about the Polytechnic designation. Their concerns were about the polytechnic emphasis on Indigenous traditional ecologic knowledge (TEK). Provost Jenn Capps explained that Humboldt would be different from other polytechnics. Emphasis on unique location and relationships with TEK and CAHSS would set Humboldt apart from other polytechnic universities.

“The focus is on making sure that we infuse concepts of sustainability traditional ecological knowledge, making sure that liberal arts and social sciences and humanities remain at the center of what we’re doing,” Capps said.

The group of graduate students wanted to understand how the polytechnic transition will support, uplift, and provide funding for indigenous and sustainability programs. Concerns were for programs such as Native American Studies (NAS), the Indian Tribal & Educational Personnel Program (ITEPP), the Indian Natural Resources, Science and Engineering Program (INRSEP), the Food Sovereignty Lab, and Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies (CRGS).

“If TEK and Indigenous knowledge are integral to this transition, how is the university funding, staffing, and filling positions to aid these core programs?” the letter reads. “Where are the cluster hires and faculty positions for NAS and CRGS? Where are the funding initiatives that support Indigenous students and all students within these programs?”

The forum did not have enough time to fully address these students’ questions or the letter.

Graduate student Marlene Dusek spoke on behalf of the student group in the forum. Dusek pointed out NAS and TEK seem to be integral in the polytechnic transition, yet will not receive the same attention and funding as the new natural resources and STEM programs soon to be rolled out.

“Native American studies and TEK is mentioned more than sustainability in the prospectus, where is the Native program state of the art remodel and buildings as a part of this plan?” Dusek asked during the forum. At the end of the forum, Dusek’s peers noted that these questions were still unanswered.

Provost Capps explains why STEM-based programs are being propped up in this stage of the polytechnic transition.

“In order for us to seek the designation, there were some programs that we needed to offer,” Capps said. “More engineering and technology programs, otherwise we wouldn’t be eligible for the designation, so we did. A large portion of the funding that we received was to support that.”

The students and administration will continue to discuss these matters. In a separate interview, Capps discussed communicative efforts with students about polytechnic changes.

“I suspect that a lot of [polytechnic] communications are going to faculty staff and community members, and not to students,” Capps said. “It makes me realize that we need to target specifically to students and perhaps do some open forum sessions.”

Faculty member and attendee Daniel Barton spoke up about this being an opportunity to reflect on this school’s image. Barton challenged the mascot, and if it reflects Humboldt’s values.

“Can we rethink whether we want to keep using a gendered symbol of colonial, natural resource extraction?” Barton said. “[Let’s] assemble something other than patriarchy. The lumberjack is gendered as a noun and as our mascot, violent colonialism, and exploitation of labor because that’s what the lumberjack symbolizes in a contemporary context.”

A presenter responded that a logo change will be a further examined item. There are arguments in favor of both sides and will be covered in depth at an unspecified later time. Changes are happening university-wide, giving students and faculty opportune time to address the school’s image and values.

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination