After the UC Board of Regents failed to respond to A.S. President Sophia Armen’s letter requesting a UC Regents meeting at UCSB, the student executive and a small group of other concerned students occupied an area in the Arbor yesterday afternoon, protesting the University’s ongoing disconnect with UC students.
During the demonstration, Armen and other students lied on the ground of the Arbor with fake blood and writing covering their bodies, in an effort to reflect the University’s “silencing” of UC students. In her letter — which was drafted last week — Armen requested the UC Board of Regents to come directly to UCSB, and requested a response by 5 p.m. yesterday. However, the board has yet to respond, and now Armen said she is launching more demonstrations and encouraging students sign a petition asking the Regents to come to campus, which has already garnered around 400 or 500 signatures.
In the past year, UC Regents meetings have been held at UC San Francisco, a graduate campus, following a number of high-profile student protests that occurred at undergraduate campuses like UC Davis and UC Riverside.
Anisha Ahuja, second-year political science and feminist studies major, said the location of recent meetings are inconvenient for many students, thus excluding the University’s main constituents from its most pressing internal affairs. Ahuja said it would be more reasonable to hold some meetings in Southern California, as the region includes most UC campuses, and added that meetings are purposefully made inaccessible to students.
“We have the majority of our UCs here, so it’s ridiculous that they’re doing it in a closed-off space like San Francisco,” Ahuja said. “They put the meetings at 8 a.m. I know the people who went to the meetings, even simply getting into the room was like a hassle itself, and so they strategically make the meetings themselves inaccessible.”
According to Armen, student activism that resulted in the passage of Proposition 30 has caused the Regents to become even more detached from students. However, Armen said she sees the possibility of a Regents meeting at UCSB as a feasible goal, and added that she plans to pressure university officials to comply with a number of specific demands addressing student needs.
“For one, I think what we want to see here is actually a public forum that students have the ability to even attend,” Armen said. “So the point is to kind of criticize the existing excuses for a meeting, which you know are purposely put in places where even if students wanted to engage in a very civil and real way, voicing their grievances, they actually literally can’t.”
Furthermore, Armen said she would question the Regents on the location of the additional funds gained from Proposition 30 passing, saying she would use the right to access California Public Records to eventually gain this information. Armen also said she would ask the university officials to use their “political power” to advocate student issues, as well as pressure them into addressing and endorsing state legislation penned by UC Student Association, such as a student loan debt forgiveness bill.
— Emile Nelson and Arda Jooharian contributed to this article.