UC students are participating in a statewide “Day of Action” demonstration tomorrow in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s revised 2011-12 budget proposal’s extended cuts to UC funding.
The proposal recommends slashing $500 million in financial support from the UC system’s state funding as part of a $1.4 billion overall reduction in funding to the state’s public higher education institutes. The UC Student Association — a coalition of students striving to increase the quality and lower the cost of education — will spearhead today’s movement during press conferences, rallies and visits to local legislation offices urging legislators to maintain the universities’ affordability.
According to UC Riverside’s Associated Students Campus Organizing Director Adriana Cruz, a second-year sociology and Chican@ studies major, the association decided to unify the campuses’ discussion of the new budget.
“At our last board meeting we foresaw the $500 million cut, so we decided to act as UC students together,” Cruz said. “At the end of the day, we’re all students, we’re all being impacted and our sources will be limited, which means it is really important to take a stand now.”
Cruz said the financial constraints have major impacts on individual students.
“Budget cuts affect us all and financial aid doesn’t help everyone,” Cruz said. “I’m down to one meal a day, I’m struggling to pay rent, I’m on loans and I work 20 hours a week. If you can’t attend an event, you can still call up your local legislators and let them know how you personally are being affected by the budget cuts.”
A.S. Campus Organizing Director Elysse Madarang, a third-year global studies major, said A.S. Student Lobby will seek local government support in their campaign to take the budget burden off students’ backs.
“Student Lobby will be lobbying our local representatives, including [Republican State Assemblymember] Katcho Achadjian, urging them to think about UC higher education,” Madarang said.
According to Mandarang, UCSA will advocate for state tax extensions and against further budget cuts to the Cal Grant Program. Mandarang said UCSB’s politically active student body can help influence the legislation’s decision.
“As our campus has the most registered voters for the last gubernatorial race and has been relatively active alongside other UC’s, I believe that we have some sway with our representatives,” Madarang said. “We must continue pressuring our state representatives through lobby visits, call-ins and direct action that will keep them accountable and aware of our needs.”