Editor, Daily Nexus
Let’s conduct a quick survey. How many of you students want to pay more in taxes to enhance programs like social security and welfare? A few hands, I see, but not all.
Okay, now how many students out there would like to see University funding, resources and the quality of our education decrease substantially, all while increasing student fees and the overall cost of attendance? What, no takers? Not even one?
There are very few policy areas where all students, regardless of race, religion, creed, gender or party affiliation, can form a consensus opinion. Increasing costs to higher education is one of them. All of you seniors should know exactly what I’m talking about.
In the past five years, mandatory UC fees have gone up 79 percent, increasing 8 percent last year and 25 percent the previous year, with further fee hikes slated for next year. Additionally, despite student cries for an increase, Return to Aid (the portion of student fees dedicated to financial aid) remains below its pre-cut level of 33 percent, and is facing another reduction.
As the current UCOP policy stands, no A.S. entities may use student funds to encourage students to vote for or against any elected official or article of legislation, no matter how detrimental it may be to the student population. Now before cries of “partisan politics!” abound, it must be made extremely clear that as the Legislative Council bill specifically stipulates, A.S. may only use student funds for campaigns supporting or opposing legislation that directly affects higher education. There should be no fear of a presidential or gubernatorial endorsement by A.S.; our powers are specifically limited to articles of legislation that directly impact higher education. I cannot stress this enough.
There is something else that must be made glaringly clear: While Legislative Council allocated money to the No on Prop 76 campaign, no A.S. funds have, or will be spent on the campaign. This A.S. resolution was passed to set a powerful precedent and to get the attention of the UCOP. While the potentially devastating affects of Proposition 76 are very important and should be known by students, the real power of this resolution is in the power it gives to students to finally speak as a unified voice in opposition to the continuous fee hikes and cuts to the quality of our education; something that has been missing until now.