As former Associated Students of the University of California Santa Barbara (ASUCSB) Presidents and officials, we write this letter to urge the Senate to vote no on the ‘Bill to Officially Withdraw ASUCSB Membership from the United States Student Association (04162014:81).’

As you well know, ASUCSB has always been at the forefront of championing important issues of access and affordability at the local, state and federal levels. Article II of the Constitution of the ASUCSB, section A affirms, “all students shall have the right to an affordable education.”

ASUCSB’s strong relationship with the United States Student Association (USSA) has facilitated students from UCSB to advocate on important issues of access and affordability at the federal level. This recent advocacy work includes the passage of the Student Aid Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) in 2010. SAFRA increased the maximum Pell Grant to $5,500 and ended subsidies to private loan companies, redirecting millions of dollars to direct loans. Throughout this process, ASUCSB worked with USSA Legislative Director Angela Peoples who personally knocked on every door in Congress to lobby on SAFRA.

The year after SAFRA was passed, 35 percent of UCSB received Federal Pell Grants and 49 percent of students borrowed student loans. If SAFRA had not passed, students who depended on Pell Grants would have seen them cut by 60 percent.

In 2012, USSA also fought and won the Don’t Double My Rate campaign, keeping student interest rates from doubling to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent.

In the spirit of progress and collective student activism, ASUCSB has worked with the USSA to represent students at the federal level. We urge you to consider the long-term view of the student movement and the importance of ASUCSB remaining a member in the USSA.

Respectfully submitted,

Sophia Armen, President 2012-2013

Paul Monge-Rodriguez, President 2010-2011

Christine Byon, EVPSA 2007-2008

Lindsey Quock, EVPLA 2007-2008

Bill Shiebler, EVPSA & UCSA President 2006-2007

Chaz Ceola-Marie Whatley, President 2005-2006

Miguel Lopez, President 2003-2004

Felicia Cruz, EVPSA 2005-2006

Mahader Tesfi, President 2000-2001

Kristopher Kohler, EVPSA 1994-1995 & 1995-1996

Derrick Perez-Johnson, EVPSA 1992-1993

Rachel Doherty Smith, President 1991-1992

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 21, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
 Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.