UC Student Association passes vote of no confidence in UC regents, UC President Janet Napolitano

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During its first meeting of the year, the University of California Student Association passed a vote of no confidence in the UC Board of Regents and UC President Janet Napolitano, after the regents’ approval of a tuition-increase policy in November.

UCSA voted Sunday to withhold confidence until the UC regents repealed the tuition-increase plan and formally adopted provisions of a 2012 assembly bill requiring the association to be notified at least 40 days prior to the introduction of a mandatory fee increase. The resolution also called for the creation of a task force to investigate the UC budget.

The decision echoed similar votes of five UC campus student governments after the UC regents’ approval of the tuition plan, which allows fees to increase by 5 percent per year for the next 5 years, assuming the state increases funding to the university by 4 percent annually.

According to UCSA board chair Kevin Sabo, the purpose of the “no confidence” vote was to send a clear message to the university that students will not “tolerate being relegated to the role of political pawn” and expect the university to be transparent in regard to its spending.

“If the UC is as confident they’ve reduced costs as they often claim they have, there should be no reservation in opening up the books for all to see,” Sabo said in an email.

At its meeting, UCSA discussed various budget proposals for the university and plans to release its own proposal Tuesday.

On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown released his 2015-16 preliminary state budget, which offers a 4-percent increase in funding to the university so long as tuition remains flat. The proposal is at odds with the university’s plan, according to which a greater increase in state funding is necessary to prevent tuition increases.

“Public universities require public support,” Napolitano said in a statement after the release of the governor’s budget. “The university is receiving $460 million less in funding from the state than it did in 2007, even as it educates thousands more California students.”

In the statement, Napolitano expressed disappointment that the state did not include more funds in its proposal and noted that the university has already made significant efforts to cut costs.

“We’re trying to navigate the balance of not playing into Jerry Brown’s politics or Janet Napolitano’s politics, because they’ve both screwed us over,” said Caitlin Quinn, ASUC external affairs vice president, regarding UCSA’s budget proposal. “We don’t want to be besties with either of them.”

At its meeting, which took place at UC Santa Cruz on Saturday and Sunday, UCSA also unanimously approved a resolution to stand in solidarity with national movements against the killings of black people by police, security personnel and vigilantes.

The resolution, co-authored by Iman Sylvain, external affairs vice president of the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly, allows for UCSA to plan coordinated actions across UC campuses and provide logistical aid to community leaders involved in demonstrations.

“At some point, the nation will know UCSA is about Black Lives Matter,” Sylvain said. “We’re not planning to spearhead this movement, but we’re in solidarity.”

UCSA also passed a resolution enabling the Associated Students of the University of California, Davis and the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate Student Association to rejoin UCSA. Other associations at UC campuses have expressed interest in rejoining UCSA; however, separate resolutions would have to be passed waiving membership dues for this fiscal year.

The association’s board will convene next Feb. 7 at UCLA.

 

Staff writer Robert Tooke contributed to this report.

Contact Alexander Barreira and Suhauna Hussain at [email protected].

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article stated that a resolution passed at the January meeting enables certain UC student government organizations, including some at UC Davis and UC San Diego, to rejoin UCSA during the current academic year. In fact, the resolution enables the Associated Students of the University of California, Davis and the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate Student Association to rejoin UCSA.