cabrillo college
Cabrillo College Watsonville Center. —file photo by Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

APTOS—Two months after the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees approved a plan to rename the institution, it is seeking proposals from the public. The decision to change the name came after several meetings and public forums that involved delving deep into the history of its namesake, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, and his nefarious acts.

Efforts to rename the college began in 2021, joining the nationwide trend of institutions and businesses scrutinizing the history of their namesakes. In November, the Trustees voted 6-1 to rename the college by August 2023, with the new name taking effect by July 1, 2024. 

Cabrillo was a Spanish explorer who came to the California Coast around 1542. During his explorations, he brutalized and subjugated the Amah Mutsun people already living in California. He became one of many Europeans whose exploits made their way into the history books but whose misdeeds were whitewashed, and accomplishments inflated.

The college is also looking to form a 25-member task force to help narrow the list of suggested names. The group will meet five times during the spring semester, from noon to 1:30pm starting on March 10.

“I’m happy to now be in this ideation phase of the process,” Board Chair Adam Spickler says. “Recognizing that the Board of Trustees has the final authority to select the college’s new name, the role of the Task Force will be to help the Board identify finalists for a name that will inspire a renewed sense of unity and support for our beloved college.”

The survey is open to the public through Feb. 22. College officials say the new name should reflect the college’s mission, values and community. The college said in a press release that it should not be named after a person. 

To participate, visit

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.


  1. The board voted to change the name against the will of voters and those that participated in the online opinion form. The board of Cabrillo could care less what voters want. Time to vote the board of trustees out. The funds used to change the name could be used for scholarships and books for needy students. What a colossal muck up caused by idiot board members like Stevie Trustupido.

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      • Next, he wants to change the name of Watsonville since the namesake was a man who drank and womanized. Stevie doesn’t like real men who actually like women and have relationships with them.

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        • May, if you define being a real “man” as someone who womanizes and drinks and brings a slave from Texas to work for free for him, then you have NO IDEA what it takes to be a man. your ignorance is on full display. May your absurd standards for “manhood” rust in pieces.
          Charles Watson tried to steal the Rodriguez land grant of 400 acres and LOST IN COURT. he got into brawls in Watsonville advocating for the death of Lincoln and the promotion of slavery. he got thrown out of the state legislature, to which he was appointed in a corrupt deal to serve as assemblyman. he then went to Nevada and died broke and alone. this is the person for whom our city is named. and you defend him as a “man”. he was a complete disgrace to the great city of Watsonville. do some reading, May , and get WOKE.

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      • you are a sleazy troll who cannot admit who you are to the public. I, on the other hand, am transparent. I am proud to have campaigned on this issue in 2020, and received more than 60% of the vote.
        I am proud of my fellow trustees in voting for this needed change,

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    • You assume a general empathy with your view. No way to know. Cabrillo, like Christopher Columbus, is a historically distorted figure. History has always been revisionim, from first draft. What’s so important about preserving deserved infamy? All of this obfuscation is silly.

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      • read about his life at there were a number of journals written by the Catholic priests who accompanied Cabrillo on his evil journeys. he is the definition of CANCEIL CULTURE VIOLENT VILLAINS. he died on a beach in
        Southern CA from gangrene.
        I know. i studied his life when I co-wrote the curriculum for the Mexican American history course for the Salinas Union High School District. try doing some research to find out what a scumbag he was.
        Neither our college nor our city deserve to be named for an evil human being. we can do better. and with the help of the public, we will find a better name for our community college.

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    • the board voted to acknowledge the many crimes of Cabrillo . the board voted to change the name away from a murderous genocidal sex trafficker who brought disease and death to thousands of Ohlone.
      CA policy does NOT support naming colleges after such individuals . it won’t be renamed after trump , either.

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    • i appreciate all the new names being proposed by the public for our community college. please continue to submit them.
      and , as to our city, why not submit possible new names to our city council, mayor and city manager? [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] .
      we have known since 1858 that Charles Watson was a humiliating disgrace of a human being. he is NOWHERE to be found by portrait, bust , street name or city owned building. that should be enough to tell you that we are ashamed of such a drunken, violent, misogynist confederate tyrant.
      WE CAN DO BETTER !!!!

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    • I will happily compare my IQ score and college degrees, along with 4 different CA teaching credentials to you. you accuse me of being stupid. you have the right to do so. back it up. you cannot.

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  2. Pickles, check out the factual proof our city historical museum has. none of it is complementary to Charles Watson. he is a pathetic excuse for whom to name a city. and you know it. you have admitted as much in past posts of yours. You tube offers us nothing about a man who died in isolation, in Nevada, in the early 1860’s.

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