On Wednesday evening, the ASUC Senate passed a bill with a 11-3 vote in favor of expressing “no confidence” in the UC Board of Regents and UC President Janet Napolitano.
The bill demands that the regents repeal the tuition policy adopted at their November meeting. It also calls out Napolitano and the UC Board of Regents for revealing the tuition plan to student leaders only two weeks before the proposed vote.
The bill outlines the creation of a task force consisting of students, faculty, staff, alumni and administration that will investigate the UC budget.
“I think it’s important for the ASUC and other student governments to publicly oppose the tuition hikes and publicly indicate our lack of confidence in the regents,” CalSERVE Senator Austin Pritzkat said.
He said that while the bill is not meant to overlook that the university needs more state funding, he believes it is important to chastise the regents for their alleged mismanagement of the UC system and their disregard for students in decision-making processes.
The bill’s sponsor, ASUC External Affairs Vice President Caitlin Quinn, said the university and the regents have become “cocky” and have repeatedly ignored the students on fossil fuel divestment and postponing the appointment of student regent-designate Avi Oved, among other issues.
“We’ve tried every single thing we could to be accessible to them, and they don’t have any interest in collaborating with us,” Quinn said. “(The regents) try to hold students hostage or bully the state. … We’re fed up with it. This is the final straw.”
UC spokesperson Brooke Converse said many of the university’s goals align with those of students.
“No one wants to see an increase in tuition; least of all the university,” she said in an email. “We welcome the students’ voices and urge them to join with us to advocate to the state for increased funding.”
Student Action Senator Hannah Frankl, who voted against the bill, said she is not specifically opposed to the hikes, which she believes are necessary.
“I felt that a vote of no confidence on those groups was too strong, considering that their hands were tied by the allocation of state funding,” Frankl said. She added that just expressing no confidence in the regents and Napolitano “gets nothing done.”
She went on to say, however, that she was “distraught” by the way the regents “delegitimized” student leaders by disregarding the procedure outlined in an assembly bill mandating that the university notify the University of California Student Association at least 40 days before adopting mandatory tuition fees. This bill was passed in 2012 but was never formally adopted by the regents.
The senate bill was formulated by the student government external vice presidents at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Riverside with the help of ASUC Director of Legislative Affairs Kevin Sabo, who is the chair of the UCSA board of directors.
Student government representatives from UC Riverside, UCLA and UC Irvine have already passed similar bills. According to Quinn, UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis are also aiming to formulate and vote on similar bills.
Ismael Contreras, the EAVP’s chief of staff, expressed disappointment that the bill was not approved with a unanimous vote. He called it a “severe misstep” that will “continuously be used against us for the simple fact that not all students feel that way.”
The senate will reconvene for its first meeting of the spring semester Jan. 21.