Upcoming tuition hike of 2.6 percent sparks frustration in ASUC Senate

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The ASUC Senate convened Wednesday to hear updates on the future of UC Berkeley’s structural deficit.

At the meeting, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Rosemarie Rae shed light on the campus’s ongoing financial crisis, emphasizing that a change in state support of the University of California over the past 10 years has necessitated tuition hikes to generate revenue. In the fiscal year 2007, 18 percent of UC Berkeley’s revenue was generated through tuition and fees, as opposed to 33 percent in the fiscal year 2018.

“Our expenses exceed our revenues, and this has been happening for three or four years. We have to address it through revenue growth,” Rae said at the meeting.

According to Rae, the UC system is planning on increasing tuition by 2.6 percent next year, at which several Senators expressed frustration. ASUC Senator Vicente Román said such a measure would disadvantage students who struggle financially. ASUC Senator Rizza Estacio said an increase in tuition would result in a decrease in student diversity.

Rae said tuition changes are influenced by several factors including inflation and state legislature, adding that the best way for students’ voices to be heard on this matter is through stronger advocacy roles with the governor and state legislature.

“I do care. We all care about your success. The best way is to engage with me,” Rae said at the meeting. “Help me keep this topic alive.”

The issue of affordable housing also came up during the meeting. Rae told the senate that the campus plans on increasing its housing portfolio by 8,000 beds by targeting 10 new housing sites around campus. UC Berkeley currently houses 22 percent of its student population.

During public comment, representatives of the ASUC External Affairs Vice President’s Office called for the resignation of longtime UC Regent Norman Pattiz. Last fall, a recording surfaced of Pattiz asking to hold a female colleague’s breasts. A recent lawsuit against Pattiz further alleges that he brandished a loaded firearm against a former employee after the employee refused to fabricate statistical data for the company’s advertisers.

Angelica Rodriguez, one of the EAVP representatives, said the office plans on rallying as many people as possible to attend the UC Board of Regents meeting next week and make their voices heard on the issue.

Thomas Devlin, executive director of the UC Berkeley Career Center, also attended the meeting. The Career Center’s services include providing career direction, enhancing marketability and improving connections to alumni. Devlin said that as more students seek a job after graduation, the demand for career services is growing nationwide. Last year, a referendum sponsored by the ASUC that would have eliminated $150 Career Center fees failed to pass.

“We had a clear shot at the pot of gold,” Devlin said at the meeting. “In my 20 years here, there has never been an increase in the budget allocated to the Career Center.”

Azwar Shakeel is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @azwarshakeel12.