The three tiers of education in California have acted independently of one another since their very creation. Every CC, CSU, and UC has had their own slate of issues laid down and divided by the state’s board of education. Most of us are familiar with the UC’s plight of regental reform, tax hikes, and shrinking of financial aid vouchers. However, looking at the broader picture of issues staring down at the CSU and CC calls to question how some issues may be shared. Proposition 30, being the partial bandage of the entire California higher-education system was aimed to be shared among the three separate bodies.
CSU’s focused these funds on increasing technology usage, enhancing outreach programs, and stopping unwanted tuition spikes. With the Prop 30 awarding a safety net of $125 million to the Cal State budget, students will be temporarily refunded by tuition waivers. However, the Cal State system will not be able to avoid making faculty and administration cuts to further balance their budget. CC’s are battling with class overflow, availability, faculty ratio, and a recently introduced course drop fee.
The resemblance of budgetary reform and fiscal responsibility among state legislators has been called to question numerous times. Student advocates have marched together and have called out the state on many occasions. Yet, apart from the “March in March,” there has not been collaboration in any organized fashion to help represent the three tiers of education in our state. This call to question has been recognized but no formal action has been taken until last year. I am a transfer student from both a CC and Four Year Institution. I have felt first-hand the dissemblance and fracture of the CA students on the ground level. I decided to bring this to the UCSA’s attention and pitch it as a formal endorsable resolution at the summer conference in 2012. It turned out that a few of my colleagues at UCR and UCLA had the exact same idea. After discussing the idea further, we decided to create a formal union of college students similar to the structure of the UCSA. However, this new organization would involve student leaders from all tiers of education in CA. We got the idea at the conference to title the organization (C.A.U.C.U.S.), which stands for the California Union of College and University Students. This union would call representatives from each assembly district to send a student leader from that region. Since there are more CC’s and CSU’s than UC’s the organization is going to extend to every region that may not include UC’s. In addition to these representatives, there are special delegate liaison from the SSCCC, CSSA, and UCSA. With a diverse and widespread board of representatives tackling issues of commonality can be objective to the needs of all students in the CA education system.
After speaking with Senator Jackson, Assemblyman Williams, and many other representative allies we have a solid “YES,” to continue building this CA Student Union. At this point we are looking for feedback, advocates, and motivators to help make this idea into reality. I am pretty curious as to what my fellow Gauchos think about this, (as we are the most spirited campus that drives the UC.) Regardless of how long this takes I promise that this will happen. There is always a better chance to fight for what students believe in when we stand together. The choice is ours….
STAND UNITED OR FALL DIVIDED!
Sam Swift is a third-year political science and acting double major.