As the weeks went by last quarter, I continually heard numerous students, faculty members and random protestors complain that the UC is crushing their ability to get an education.  “How can they just raise fees like this?!”  “This is supposed to be public education for all!”

We protest on campus, learn about the problems confronting the state and UC system in classand confront the regents, but the fee is still passed. I don’t know if it’s just me, but our failure to affect change makes it seem like we are going about it the wrong way.

The vast majority of the money needed to keep fees low and public education pulsing forward does not come from the various students who walk campus every day, nor does it come from the regents: It comes from the state and federal levels. Corporations have lobbyists working full time to keep and secure their interests in Congress. Big businesses are only able to do this because they allocate funding specifically for this purpose. Successful multinational corporations view sending lobbyists to the state and U.S. Congress as a wise and necessary investment. 

If anyone Googles University of California Student Union, they will find a dilapidated UCSA Web site with the last news article dated March 23, 2009! Some fairly important issues have occurred since then… a 32-percent fee increase, for example. 

In today’s economy, we cannot just expect money to fall into our open hands; we must pressure our representatives to vote for in our interests. If the Regents can instill a 32-percent fee increase to keep our universities running, wouldn’t it make sense to allocate a few dollars to create and support a student lobby in Congress to make sure we never have to do raise fees again? 

Faculty members, staff, students and students’ families all have a stake in what is happening. When 121,000 faculty and staff and 220,000 students at the UC, join with 48,000 faculty and staff and 450,000 students at the Cal State University system, we are a huge voting bloc. Why do we fail to act like one?