Governor’s Budget Agreement Unfair for Students in the UC System

The agreement made between the Cal State/University of California and and the governor’s office is anything but fair and fails to look toward the economic well-being of the current student population at the UC or the students to come.
We have an entire office on this campus devoted to external affairs, and most specifically within that office, legislative affairs. We looked at the same May revision and the UC Regents meeting decision, and do not see the governor as the ‘savior’ of the UC.
Initially, the UC was cut $372 million. The governor restored $20 million of that under the compact. That is beans compared to what was initially cut. Further, this was done without the legislature. Word up at the capitol is not acceptance from the Democrats or the Republicans.
Representatives from both sides of the political fence do not like the outcome of this compact or the way it was arrived to. The University of California Student Association has been lobbying on a platform that would restore $99 million to the UC budget.
Although we were quite cognizant of the difficulties and the unlikelihood of restoring all the cuts, we thought that UC students deserved a little more bang for their buck than what was being proposed.
No one, including President Dynes, the majority of the Regents, or the Governor, seem to be looking out for UC students. Whether it is low income students to whom we are trying to outreach to or the middle class, who is the predominant group that attends the UC, all of us are getting screwed together.
Most students at UCI, demographically speaking, are middle class. Let’s cut party lines out of this whole budget debacle. Whatever political affiliation you are, paying more money for fewer services is never an attractive deal. The state promised us affordable education under the master plan long ago.
Do not be deceived. These gradual fee increases will hike up your fees even more than the $1,000+ hike from the previous year. And once again, these decisions were made behind closed doors without the input of students, and now, without the state legislature.
When we met with the governor’s office on May 10, the staffer we met with told us the following enchanting views of UC students. When we asked about the over-the-unit surcharge, he told us that maybe if UC students were not ‘drinking beer’ for seven years, they could get out of school within the 180 units.
He also notified us of how lucky we were to attend the UC, and further, told us that we’re stealing money from social services and health care and that children would not get their prosthetics thanks to us.
What ever happened to the middle class taxpayer? Does neither party give a damn about the
majority of us? Race, party
affiliation and every other divisive factor in our society aside, who is going to fight for those of us
who pay taxes and have to work hard to stay here in school? The article published last week
regarding the compromise reflected the attitude that gradual increases were indeed acceptable. This means fees will continue to rise even in times of economic prosperity.
This economy will turn around, and we will still be getting the raw end of the deal. In a meeting with President Dynes back in March, we were urged to build a coalition of UCSA and UCOP to lobby against the education cuts. Was it in this spirit that we were left out of these back door proceedings? I have thoroughly enjoyed my public education. After attending 12 years of private primary and secondary schooling, it was refreshing.
But now, heading to law school, I am glad my route has likely taken me back to private school. At least at a private school, I know I’m getting a fair return on my $30,000+. At the UC, future students will not get the quality of education I’ve received. That is the real shame and no one is recognizing it.
We are here because we worked hard to be here. There is a reason for a three-tiered education system in this state. We are students that met the rigorous requirements to get in here, and wanted to go to a research institution.
To have that taken away from us in the middle of the game is not only unfair, but is a poor investment strategy. We are not here to propel our governor into his future political aspirations by keeping up appearances that he is saving this budget process.
We are here to get an education. And that’s really all we asked for in the first place.

Christina Gagnier is a fourth- year political science and sociology major.