The UCSB Office of the External Vice President for Statewide Affairs (EVPSA) is hosting the “We’re fUCked” weeklong series of events on campus to protest the long-term plan proposed by the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) to increase tuition by five percent annually over the next five years.
The campaign, which began May 11 and will conclude May 17, is taking place on campus at the Arbor, the MCC Theater and Storke Tower to give students the opportunity to speak out against the tuition increases. Events Tuesday and Wednesday included chalk wall writing and distributing free T-shirts, with a teach-in scheduled for Thursday to inform students of events leading up to the fee increase. A rally will be held on the Storke Tower lawn at noon on Friday for students to express their concerns.
EVPSA and fourth-year political science major Melvin Singh said We’re fUCked gives UCSB students an outlet to express their opposition, as UC students have been doing since tuition fee increases were first announced.
“When the tuition hikes were proposed, there was a sense of frustration and despair among the students of the UC in how to express their concerns in an impactful way,” Singh said. “We have had students protesting since the hikes were announced in various ways from letter-writings to sit-ins to shutting down freeways.”
Singh said each day of the campaign has a different objective that focuses on voicing students’ opinions and all events will culminate at the rally on Friday.
“The We’re fUCked campaign intends to collectivize and voice the student perspective on this issue and, at the same time, empower them with knowledge and avenues of participation,” Singh said. “Each day of the campaign is a cumulative buildup to the next.”
Singh also said students should be able to partake in conversations about university funding, but have been “disempowered” since the UC system was formed. The committee to discuss funding and tuition should include more than just Governor Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano, according to Singh.
“Governor Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano have formed the Committee of Two in addressing state funding and the financial management of the UC system,” Singh said. “We need a committee of 240,000, not a committee of two.”
Communications Director for the A.S. Lobby Corps and first-year art history major Lacy Wright said tuition increases are indicative of a government that does not value education when making long-term legislative decisions.
“They [tuition increases] reveal the systemic problem of a government that fails to see the value in education,” Wright said. “What many fail to see is that education is a long-term investment in our society, because students represent the future workforce.”
Wright said she wants to empower students to express their opinions to convince the Board of Regents that their decisions negatively affect all those connected to the UC system.
“I was hoping this would help the Regents see what they put their students through every time they raise tuition, and how much we suffer,” Wright said. “These hikes hurt not just the students, but also the staff, the faculty, the parents and families of students, and society in general. Because, if this continues, we are fucked.”
EVPSA Fellow and third-year political science major Jared Daniels said he hopes We’re fUCked will spark communication between the UC system, the Regents and the state government.
“Politicians in Sacramento and Washington D.C. find it so easy to ignore the needs of higher education because they know that college kids won’t show up to vote them out of office on Election Day,” Daniels said. “Getting informed is a good start, but students need to become voters, not just activists, if they truly want to invoke positive change.”
A version of this story appeared on page 3 of the Thursday, May 14, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.