With a controversial bake sale at UC Berkeley bringing attention to SB 185, the UC Student Association orchestrated systemwide call-in events Tuesday which saw hundreds of students across the state call Gov. Jerry Brown’s office in support of the bill.
Every UC campus student association, with the exception of UC Davis — the only campus that is not a member of UCSA — set up phone banks for students to call in support of the bill. While the Berkeley College Republicans’ bake sale diverted the day’s focus from the phone banks, UC campus leaders organizing the call-in events said the bake sale served to bring light to a relatively unknown piece of important legislation.
ASUC External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman said although the bake sale detracted from the day’s original purpose of publicizing a student call-in event in support of the bill, it successfully brought attention to the issues surrounding it.
“If there’s any silver lining in what has been going on, the bake sale did draw a lot of attention to the bill,” Freeman said. “In that sense, we’re grateful that this happened.”
Freeman added that the ASUC got over 200 UC Berkeley students to call Brown today in support of the bill.
The bill, which would allow the UC and CSU systems to consider factors such as race, gender, geographical origin and household income in student admissions, has been a source of controversy in the state, as many have compared it to the admissions policies outlawed by Proposition 209 upon its implementation in 1997.
UCSA President Claudia Magana said the call-in events were a success, estimating that calls to Brown’s office from UC students numbered close to one thousand. She said about 200 students at UC Santa Cruz and UCLA each called in to voice their support for the bill.
UCLA’s undergraduate student association worked with campus student organizations such as the Afrikan Student Union and MEChA de UCLA to organize its call-in events, according to Joelle Gamble, the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association external vice president. She, like Freeman, said the bake sale served to stimulate conversation about the bill and would only help call-in efforts.
“As a result of what has happened, people are talking,” Gamble said. “This is something that has always been a big issue at UCLA. (But) the way it happened could have been so much less offensive.”
UCLA will also be hosting another call-in event Wednesday, she added.
At UC Merced, student association officers organized a small phone banking event for students, making about 100 calls to Brown, said ASUCM External Vice President Jonathan Ly in an email — but the event would have been greater had many officers not had midterms, he added.
Although UC Davis’ student association is not a part of UCSA and held no official UCSA call-in event, the ASUCD Senate passed a resolution supporting SB 185 in April, according to ASUCD Senator Brendan Repicky.
Damian Ortellado covers higher education.