A group of students and community members gathered last Wednesday in support of the Domes, a cooperative living community on campus, which is slated to be closed July 31 due to safety issues.
The supporters of the Domes, or “Domies,” have been working with the administration to find an alternative option for the Domes. Students and community members gathered Wednesday to ask for a public statement from the university saying that they will allow the community to stay on the site.
“Today we’re celebrating the Domes community and we’re here to acknowledge all the hard work that’s gone into creating a future vision for the Domes,” said Janaki Jagannath, Domes resident and senior international agriculture development major. “We’re looking for a public or written statement of a commitment to keep Domies on the land over the summer.”
Last year, Student Housing deemed the Domes structures unsafe, and the university said that they would be closing the cooperative housing community in the fall. In response, Domes supporters worked with the Solar Community Housing Association, a community housing group in Davis. In collaboration, they produced a proposal for the Domes in which SCHA would lease the Domes property from the university for 5 years. SCHA would help with the repairs needed for the current structures while the next generation of Domes are built.
The proposal was presented to Student Housing last month, and while administrators said that they liked the proposal, there have been no formal agreements yet.
On Wednesday, a group of over 60 students and community members presented over 1,000 letters of support urging the administration to save the Domes. The group marched to Mrak Hall to deliver wheelbarrows full of the letters to Vice Chancellor Fred Wood and other administrators.
Supporters invited students and administrators to stay and learn more about the Domes and hear from speakers from the cooperative community. Wood responded to the letters with optimism and support.
“I think that the SCHA proposal is a very good one. It’s very thoughtful and it’s got the right pieces in it,” Wood said.
Wood also told the Domes supporters that the university has no plans to build anything else on the site of the Domes, and that they would like to find a way to keep the Domies on the land.
“I want to absolutely assure you that there is no plan to bulldoze that site,” Wood said. “There’s no plan for that site at all. As long as we are pursuing these good, viable alternatives, with SCHA or alternatives with academic uses, there will be no bulldozing.”
Danielle Fodor, a former Domes resident, said that she hoped the administration would recognize the Domes as an essential part of UC Davis and do all that they can to keep the community alive.
“We’re asking for a public commitment to this community. To tell this community that you value them, that you value the kinds of things that these creative people have come up with,” Fodor said.
In the end, Wood said that he would verbally commit to continue working on alternate plans for the Domes community, and that he hoped to continue collaborating with the community members.
HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.