Unsheltered, Tom Covington faces hostility and sometimes violence Unhoused are not protected under hate crime law in California

photo by Leslie Layton
Tom Covington was struck by a flaming bag as he slept in a doorway.

by Natalie Hanson & Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 21

Tom Covington curled up to sleep in a downtown Chico doorway on a January night near another unsheltered man. Both men were awakened around 2 a.m. by a flaming bag that was tossed on them and that burned Covington’s sleeping bag, hand and his right side.

Covington was able to slap the fire out, but the men were disgusted and angry to find that the bag was full of feces. Covington’s wheelchair had been taken by one of the two men who had been lurking around them when they bedded down. read more

State agencies, psychologists support Chico Unified Anti-discrimination policy needed to protect LGBTQ student privacy, they say

photo by Karen Laslo
CUSD offices

by Natalie Hanson
posted Jan. 24

Educators and experts have joined California’s leaders in urging an appeals court to uphold a ruling that supports Chico Unified School District’s (CUSD’s) anti-discrimination policy.

California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta filed Jan. 9 in support of the district, along with representatives of 15 other states, arguing that the policy is designed to be flexible on a case-by-case basis to support transgender and gender-nonconforming students, and to withhold parental notice when a student does not consent. The only exception for parental notification, against a student’s wishes, is if the student’s well-being is at risk. read more

CSU faculty reach tentative deal Strike over as deal ends campus picketing in Chico

photo by Karen Laslo
Photography professor Aaron Draper was among striking faculty Jan. 22.

posted Jan. 23
Picketing at Chico State by striking faculty ended Jan. 22 when the California Faculty Association (CFA) reached a tentative deal with administration.

Faculty have been offered a 5% salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2023 and a possible 5% salary increase coming on July 1 of this year. In addition, the CSU will raise the salary floor for the lowest-paid instructors.

What turned out to be a one-day strike marked the first time faculty unions at all 23 campuses have coordinated a labor action of this nature, said Assistant Professor Lindsay Briggs, one of the striking faculty members. — Leslie Layton read more

Chico State professors strike, joining a CFA statewide action Aguilar-McKay's sign: "Si se puede"

photo by Karen Laslo
Nora Aguilar-McKay from the School of Education faculty prepares bilingual teachers who will teach multilingual students.

by Leslie Layton
posted Jan. 22

About 150 faculty and their supporters joined the picket line today as Chico State University employees participated in the statewide, five-day action that cancelled many classes in the semester’s first week.

CSU faculty unions statewide — that includes instructors, librarians, coaches and counselors — are asking for a 12 percent salary increase after years of small increases that fail to keep up with inflation, said Associate Professor Lindsay Briggs. read more

Emergency meeting violates Brown Act "Urgency" and "emergency" different things, attorney says

Emergency meeting agenda

by Leslie Layton
posted Jan. 11

A Jan. 6 emergency meeting held by Chico City Council appears to have been illegal – in other words, a violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act that governs meeting access in California.

The Saturday meeting was called on short notice to consider matters “involving the disruption or threatened disruption of public facilities” after the winter sheltering program, Safe Space, held intake at The Hands sculpture near the Municipal Center on Jan. 5.

An attorney consulted by ChicoSol indicated he doesn’t think the nature of the disruption justified an emergency meeting under state law. “The bottom line is, I don’t think this rises to the level of emergency under the Brown Act,” said David Loy, legal director for the San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition (FAC) that works to defend open-government laws. read more

Safe Space leadership plans to meet with City officials City threat to shut down intake threatens winter sheltering program

by Leslie Layton
posted Jan. 4

Jan. 6 update: Chico City Council held an emergency meeting today after Safe Space was forced to move intake from the downtown building. (Intake today will be held at 5:30 p.m. at 285 East 5th St.) A meeting will be held Tuesday between City and Safe Space managements, and Council members Sean Morgan and Addison Winslow.

Safe Space Executive Director Hilary Crosby was encouraged today by City officials who she said have agreed to meet to discuss the intake center problem that has threatened to shut down Chico’s emergency winter sheltering program. read more