Shortly after the UC student regents presented on the financial crisis facing the university, a bill supporting rallies protesting potential tuition hikes was proposed to the ASUC .
SB 118 — also called the “Bill in Support of the November Days of Action” — supports a walkout and noontime rally on the UC Berkeley campus to occur Nov. 9 and 10. The demonstrations are meant to protest the consequences of a $2.4 billion budget gap the UC faces over the next four years, which could result in drastically higher tuition.
The bill would also provide financial support for transporting students to the UC Board of Regents’ November meeting, where the board could potentially discuss a long-term plan to increase revenue for the university.
“I’m hoping that the day of action (will) raise awareness about the divestment of public education and that it will give students a sense of what is really at stake,” said co-author of the bill CalSERVE Senator Andrew Albright.
The bill is co-authored by Albright and Cooperative Movement Senator Elliot Goldstein.
Every student should know the financial data the UC Office of the President and the regents are using to make long-term decisions, said UC Student Regent-designate Jonathan Stein.
“It’s important that students are constantly in front of influential decision makers, but you don’t have to protest in order to be an active part of the student movement,” he said. “You don’t have to put on a suit and lobby in Sacramento.”
Students can spread the word about the fiscal situation by talking to peers, he said.
“I think student demonstrations can be enormously effective, as long as they are followed up with other things such as lobbying,” Albright said. “It is necessary to talk to legislators to tell them that their continual divestment of funds from the UC system leaves regents no choice but to bury us in fee hikes.”
Tuition hikes have a larger impact on UC students than on students at other universities because UC students have greater financial need, as shown by the high number of federal Pell Grant recipients enrolled in the UC as compared to most private and public schools, according to the UC Student Regent Alfredo Mireles Jr. and Stein.
“I think a significant percentage of the regents were shocked by the possibility of $22,000+ tuition in four years and are therefore sincerely working to find different ways to fund the university,” said Mireles in an email. “However, we as a Board continue to remain vexed on how we will close our … budget gap.”
The board will likely be presented with a four-year expenditure plan and a year-to-year revenue plan at the March regents’ meeting, Mireles said.
The senate bill also proposes that two additional student representatives be appointed to the board along with their respective designates. The bill will be discussed at next week’s senate meeting.