Denver student protests continue, Polis signs bill protecting transgender students, Boulder mental health workers move to unionize


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    Denver student protests continue, Polis signs bill protecting transgender students, Boulder mental health workers move to unionize Kennedy Pickering

CU Auraria campus protests continue

Student leaders of pro-Palestinian demonstrations at the Auraria campus in Denver have told campus officials they have no intention of taking down the encampment they set up last week until their demands are met.

According to a statement from the Auraria Higher Education Center, Students for a Democratic Society—or SDS—leaders said they were engaged in civil disobedience in a meeting with campus officials yesterday.

The campus officials reiterated that while they support the student’s right to free speech and assembly, their encampment violates Auraria policy.

The student leaders replied that they fully understood they were violating Auraria’s no-camping policy, but according to the Auraria statement, they were engaged in civil disobedience.

Education Center CEO Colleen Walker and CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks were among the executive leaders who met with the SDS.

Chancellor Marks told the students that their demands that CU sever all financial ties to Israel were outside of her authority and were instead the responsibility of the CU Board of Regents and President.

According to the Denver Gazette, demonstrators later confirmed that the meeting produced no agreement with campus officials.

Meanwhile, some protestors have reportedly set up a homework tent at the encampment site so students can study for upcoming final exams.

CU Denver, Metropolitan State University, and Community College of Denver share the Auraria campus. The community college has canceled all in-person classes for the rest of this semester.

The demonstration against Israel’s war in Gaza began at Auraria last week and is one of many such demonstrations on college campuses nationwide.

In just a few minutes, we will speak with a local student journalist about the Auraria campus demonstration on the Morning Magazine.

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New Transgender bill signed

A new law signed by Governor Jared Polis requires school employees in Colorado to call students by their preferred names.

The law, signed yesterday, makes it discriminatory for school employees to not call students by their preferred, gender-affirming name, according to the Denver Post.

It also allows students to file a report with their school if and when there is a violation.

The bill is similar to one recently signed into law, which allows people who have been convicted of felonies to use gender identity as a reason for legally changing their names.

These Democrat-backed bills resulted in lengthy debate in the state Senate and House of Representatives. 

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Gray wolf confirmation

Colorado ranchers and state officials have reached an agreement to address rancher concerns about gray wolves, which attacked and killed eight livestock last month in Grand and Jackson counties. 

In the agreement announced yesterday, the Middle Park Stockgrowers Association will receive up to $20,000 from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The money will fund non-lethal deterrents against wolf depredation, a technical term for when a predator, like a wolf, repeatedly kills livestock.

The non-lethal deterrents include protecting livestock herds with overnight patrols and keeping livestock penned up overnight.

Ranchers and state wildlife officials have been at odds over the wolf depredation. At first, ranchers called on the state to take lethal action against the wolves, which the state declined.

Ten gray wolves were reintroduced to Colorado late last year. The governor said that statewide, voters approved a measure to reintroduce them despite knowing they would eat cattle. 

But most voters in Grand County voted against wolf reintroduction, according to 9News.

In making the new agreement public, a spokesperson from the Middle Park Stockgrowers Association said the organization is thankful for the partnership with the state, which will help protect its animals.

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Colorado River Tribal talks

Six Native American tribes, including two in Colorado, are now formally included in ongoing talks about water issues involving the Upper Colorado River Basin.

The tribes will meet with the Upper Colorado River Commission every two months under an agreement finalized last month.

The commission was formed in 1948, and its member states are Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

According to the Colorado Sun, critical issues include allocating federal dollars and addressing an ongoing drought that could affect water security for the forty million people in the west who depend on the river.

Under current law, thirty federally recognized tribes have rights to about 26% of the Colorado River’s average flow.

The six tribes that now have permanent access to Upper Colorado River Commission negotiations have been meeting with the commission since August of 2022.

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Mental health workers in the process of unionizing

Employees at Mental Health Partners in Boulder have scheduled a vote on unionizing. 

The voting on a decision join the Service Employees International Union Local 105.

Begins on Friday, with mail-in ballots counted on May 21st, according to a press release.

Workers at Mental Health Partners’ Valmont facility cite safety issues, unsustainable wages, and scheduling and staffing instability as reasons for unionizing. Some workers say those issues have hurt client care and resulted in staff burnout.

The release says if the vote to unionize is successful, it will become the first unionized mental health facility in Boulder.

From a press release

Iris Avenue wanting new protected bike lanes

The City of Boulder proposes to add protected bike lanes along one of the city’s busiest streets.

The protected bike lanes would be along Iris Avenue, which has a conventional bike lane running alongside traffic. 

The new protected lanes are still gathering community feedback on other possibilities for Iris Avenue.

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Foothills North trials closed

Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department is closing the Foothills North Trailhead and the northern part of Foothills North Trail to install a bridge.

The closures could begin as soon as today, according to a city press release, and last for a week.

The city also plans to use a helicopter to bring in materials for the construction of a bridge over the Foothills North Trail. Weather permitting, that’s set for tomorrow.

The release also says that Open Space and Mountain Parks is nearing completion of a new three-and-a-half-mile trail called the North Sky Trail. The new trail will connect several existing trails in North Boulder and be open to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians.

Read here

Eisenhower tunnel closer

Motorists driving along I-70 west of Denver may encounter delays at the Eisenhower Tunnel over the next few weeks.

Colorado Department of Transportation crews will work overnight on improvements inside the tunnel, which will require lane closures in both directions.

Denver7 says the work began last night and will go through May 16th. C-DOT says there won’t be any closures on weekends or holidays.

Read here 

Kennedy Pickering

Kennedy Pickering


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