News In Brief

UC Irvine holds testing on lab rats for two biology classes

Two biology classes at UC Irvine will cease the use of lab rats, according to the OC Register. The university reasons that it can meet the “educational objectives” without having to use rats as tools of demonstration for labs.

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) performs its review on animal-use protocol every three years. 2009 was the tri-annual marker, and, after evaluating two biological sciences classes, concluded that rats could be taken out from the lab and instead, computer simulations or other aids should be used.

Despite the fact that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims that they were a driving force in the university’s decision for change, UCI Spokesman, Tom Vasich, begs to differ.

In an email, Vasich stated that “PETA had no involvement with UCI’s decision to evaluate the lab course … but the information on alternatives provided by PETA was used during the evaluation process.”

Regardless of what was the true catalyst, the university’s decision to free the rodents has already garnered benefits for the university. Kathy Guillermo, Vice President of Laboratory Investigations for PETA, said that at least 200 rats every year will now not have to face the “fear and pain that resulted from these experiments.” She also mentioned that students will be able to ascertain scientific information using modern methods of experimentation that are being implemented as awareness is broadened concerning the use of animals for testing.

Woman slashed across face with knife in Costa Mesa

At approximately 1:51 a.m. on October 2, 2009, 22-year-old Erika Monique Milton allegedly slashed another woman, age 24, in the face with a 2-1/2 inch knife after an argument erupted outside of Triangle Square in Costa Mesa.

Milton was arrested by police as she attempted to pull out of the parking lot. She is currently held at the Orange County Jail on a $1 million dollar bail.

The victim, whose name has not been disclosed, was transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana to be treated for the knife-wound.

Janitors protest on Ring Road against the budget cuts

The midday calm of a typical Friday was broken last week when Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local 1877 marched on Ring Road to protest the 38 janitors laid off for the new academic year.

Supporters rounded the Ring Road circuit bearing signs that said “Justice for Janitors” and were beating drums, stopping occasionally for a dancer in traditional garb to express her distaste for the workers that were let go.

Just before 1 p.m., the crowd assembled in front of Aldrich Hall and was addressed by Mike Garcia, president of SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW).

“We’re asking to chop at the top,” Garcia said. “Ask one of your billionaire executives to pay for all of you!”

Garcia and the service workers’ supporters were also protesting the lack of compensation for the remaining 100 janitors, who must now shoulder the janitorial workload of the campus despite the loss of manpower.

“If they don’t like it, [the workers] can leave,” Garcia said, in describing UCI’s position.

“We’ll keep coming back and back and back until we can get a better deal from the University,” Garcia said.

“We understand that in this economic recession, there have to be some cuts … but these cuts are not fair. Janitors are not animals, they deserve dignity and respect,” Garcia said.

“We’ve been asking for a meeting with Chancellor Drake, but I guess he’s been busy cutting people,” said Tefere Gabre, Executive Director of Orange County Labor. “This is the best University system in the country, but the way it’s going right now it cannot sustain right now cutting the most vulnerable workers. The irony is for [the students] who are going to be lawyers, and going to make a lot of money, the university is offering free tuition.”