CPP announces plans to appropriate more agricultural land

By Gregory Jouvenat

Cal Poly Pomona administrators announced plans to use 17 acres of agricultural land from Spadra Ranch last week and hosted a forum about the disclosure on Oct. 27 for students of the College of Agriculture.

The university’s intention to use the land on Spadra Ranch and the scheduling of the forum meeting was announced to faculty on Oct. 26. According the Bryce Von Helms, a fourth-year agribusiness student and ASI College of Agriculture senator, students and most faculty members were unaware of the university’s intentions prior to the announcement.

“I feel blindsided. It’s just like the [horse] pastures issue that happened last year, and I feel just as blindsided,” said Lucia Sellati, a fourth-year plant science student. “We didn’t find out about the meeting or the content of the meeting until the day before, so we didn’t have enough time to prepare research. I’m feeling a little disappointed in the [CPP] Foundation because they said they wouldn’t do this again.”

According to Von Helms, this isn’t the first time the university has used agricultural land for development projects. Last spring, the university proposed subtracting part of the Arabian Horse Center for the construction of residence halls. The decision to execute the project was made during summer.

“It felt like a very ‘under the table’ sort of deal. It had no involvement with students,” said Von Helms. “So, if they are not representing the students or helping the students by giving them the environment that they need to excel, in my experience and in my position, I don’t feel that the university is representing the College of Agriculture or students very well.”

Walter Marquez, associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management, and Paul Storey, the executive director of the CPP Foundation, led the forum regarding the use of 17 acres of Spadra Ranch. They said that the land would most likely go towards developing an Air Resource Board facility. The ARB wants to build a world-class facility that would test automobile emissions. It wants a location where it can employ students and faculty.

“This issue is about losing the last piece of heritage here at Cal Poly Pomona,” said Joshua Klockmann, a fourth-year plant science and agricultural science student. “We started off as an agricultural college before any other department was even here. That included the horses and the farming at Spadra [Ranch]. We’ve already lost how many other acres to the horses, and now they are going after the farmland. It’s not an either or right now, it’s both.”

“I feel like this is going to turn out just like the horse pastures,” said Chris Rickards, a second-year agricultural business management student. “I think that they are going to listen to the students, but I think this decision [is] already set in stone. I personally don’t think that we will be able to turn the tables, but at the same time, I am not saying that we should give up by any means. I think by voicing our opinions and trying to extend our message, we can at least maybe try to help ourselves in the future. Protecting our future is what this is all about.”

Agricultural land

Gregory Jouvenat / The Poly Post

Agricultural land

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