Outgoing UC Student Association, or UCSA, President Kevin Sabo submitted a report of recommendations July 20 to the university calling for explicit recognition of the UCSA as the official voice of UC students.
The recommendations aim to codify the relationships between the UCSA and both the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, and the UC Board of Regents by amending both groups’ existing bylaws and policies. According to Sabo, the recommendations are a culmination of discussions between the UCSA and UC officials that have taken place over the last year.
“What this was really about was pulling all of the points of our interaction together in one document,” Sabo said. “This is the final document, which encapsulates all we’ve talked about this year.”
Sabo said the UCSA has been implicitly recognized as the voice of UC students since the establishment of the UC student regent position in 1975 but that its official recognition would protect the organization from being dismissed as irrelevant when beneficial for UC administration. Since releasing the report, Sabo said he had received multiple emails from the UCOP attempting to finalize some of the recommendations.
Official recognition would also enable the implementation of the Student Advocacy, Governance and Engagement Fee, Sabo said. According to the report, the proposal would stabilize the UCSA’s finances, which are currently reliant on “a volatile system of association membership dues that fluctuate wildly each year … ”
Sabo’s recommendations also included specific policy amendments for both the UCOP and the UC regents to codify recognition of the UCSA, increased meetings with administration and the establishment of funds to pay for students attending administration meetings.
According to Sabo, the UCSA has addressed student concerns ranging from food security to mental health issues by engaging in protests and civil disobedience while also continuing to work with administration at official meetings to make policy changes. Sabo said he hopes to aid the development of an institutional memory for the UCSA while training its next president in order to maintain this success.
“A lot of what we do in UCSA is intangible, but we’ve made a lot of wins for students,” Sabo said. “What we’ve learned this year is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.”