UC Student Association passes no confidence resolution in Gov. Jerry Brown

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During its Sunday meeting, the University of California Student Association unanimously voted to pass a resolution expressing no confidence in Gov. Jerry Brown.

The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote at UCLA, calling on Brown to reduce UC tuition to 2008 levels, according to Timothy Ma, external vice president of the UC Irvine Associated Graduate Students and a sponsor of the resolution. The vote comes about a month after the UCSA passed a resolution proclaiming no confidence in the UC Board of Regents and UC President Janet Napolitano.

The resolution notes that over the last 24 years, state funding per student of the university has declined, despite inflation. It also observes that Brown line-item vetoed $100 million toward improving infrastructure of California state schools and the UC system and that Brown supports expediting some degree programs and increasing online education.

Brown’s plan for the 2015-16 budget is to increase UC funding by 4 percent as long as tuition remains at a fixed rate for students. In contrast, the UC regents approved a plan in November to potentially increase tuition by 5 percent each year, over five years, unless the state grants additional funding.

Both of the oppositional plans put students “in a bind,” said Rebecca Ora, external vice president of UC Santa Cruz’s Graduate Student Association.

“UCOP and the Regents essentially have no incentive to listen to students; the state has more incentive, but Jerry Brown specifically has never been a friend to the UC,” said Caitlin Quinn, ASUC external affairs vice president, in an email.

Ma is the only person who voted against the resolution proclaiming no confidence in Napolitano last month. He said Napolitano has communicated with students better than the previous UC president.

“If there is one person to point the finger to, it would be Governor Brown,” Ma said.

According to Evan Westrup, a spokesperson for Brown, the governor is committed to “increasing access and quality” of the university.

“As president of the Board of Regents, Governor Brown remains focused on preventing tuition hikes and reducing the university’s cost structure,” Westrup said in an email.

The resolution also calls on Brown to uphold standards in the California Master Plan for Higher Education.

The master plan was established in 1960, under former governor Pat Brown, Brown’s father. The plan outlines the functions of the tripartite system that categorizes all California colleges: the University of California, the California State University and the California community college system. The plan established a goal of tuition-free and quality education.

“I don’t have faith in Governor Brown,” said UCSA board chair Kevin Sabo. “His father really built and supported the master plan. … It’s kind of a tragic irony his son is undoing that legacy, trying to push us towards online education.”

Moving forward, Quinn said UCSA members plan to attend multiple hearings this month to tell legislators what their perspectives are.

Contact Jamie Nguyen at [email protected].