Santa Barbara United Auto Workers 2865, a union for teaching assistants, readers and tutors at UC Santa Barbara, brought in undergraduate organizers to its monthly remote membership meeting on Aug. 26 to discuss the current housing shortage affecting UCSB students, campus reopening at the start of fall quarter and health and safety issues.
Sociology graduate student and recording secretary for Santa Barbara United Auto Workers 2865 (UAW2865) Emily Fox explained UCSB’s 2010 Long Range Development Plan, which proposed a cap on enrollment to 25,000 through the year of 2025 and the construction of new dorms to house 5,000 more students as well as 1,800 units for faculty and staff.
“But surprise, they have enrolled more than 25,000 students every year since 2018 — however, they haven’t built nearly enough housing,” Fox said.
Organize Isla Vista, a community organization focused on grassroots organizing, and other organizers like UCSB Cost of Living Adjustment, discussed their demand for hybrid class options for students who face houselessness as UCSB reopens its campus, with UCSB Cost of Living Adjustment
“What we’re working on is trying to find … how we can help the situation currently and as quickly as possible,” organizer with Organize I.V. Declan Griffin said during the meeting. “The common sense conclusion that we’ve come up with is for the university to provide at the bare minimum … an online option for all students and faculty for all of the Fall Quarter 2021 classes.”
UCSB alum and founder of Red Jooce Project Mikio Kelley emphasized that this demand is not calling for the campus to completely close or return to remote instruction entirely.
“[This is] just to be able to give something, at least for this fall quarter, to those marginalized students who are going to be most impacted by the [housing] crisis and are considering literally being unhoused just to be able to attend classes,” Kelley said during the meeting.
The meeting began with discussion on the housing crisis, as well as the COVID-19 delta variant, and the university’s response — or lack thereof — to the countless students facing houselessness in the fall.
The organizers concluded the meeting with a poll to meeting participants regarding a remote option for the fall. All 44 respondents present unanimously agreed with the demand.
Correction: [09/13/21, 10:41 p.m.]: This article has been corrected to say that Santa Barbara UAW2865 held the monthly membership meeting on Aug. 26. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that UCSB 4 COLA held the monthly membership meeting on Aug. 26.