UCSA Conference Forum For Issues
Over 500 students, undergraduates, graduates and professional students represented each of the UC campuses at the University of California Student Association’s 14th Annual Congress at UC San Diego to discuss and decide upon which campaigns will be pursued and focused upon for the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year.
The conference began with two days of workshops and clinics, ranging from a deconstruction of the UC Regents by the Student Regents themselves to a mock town hall-style workshop on the economic and social impact of Walmart upon low-income communities. Clinics provided attending students knowledge of the basics of creating successful campaigns.
The focus on the Congress, however, was the creation of student-led campaigns through what are called “open spaces,” which allowed spaces for students from all UCs to get together and share ideas for these potential campaigns. Out of these open spaces, eight organized and passionate potential campaigns came forth to be presented to students.
From these eight, three were voted upon to the next round of voting:
1) “Master Plan B.” This campaign revisits and revises the “Master Plan” that was established in 1960 by the state of California to lay out the mission of the University, which was to provide a system in which a public education is accessible and affordable regardless of economic status. This campaign would update this to include issues of diversity and accountability.
2) UC Regent Reform. With the term length for current UC Regents being set at 12 years, this campaign would work to reduce that term to eight years (or less) in order to ensure that Regents stay more in touch with the current generations of UC students. Also, this would work to make having some affiliation with higher education at some point a requirement for being a Regent. This would also work to implement three Student Regents: one undergraduate, one graduate and one professional student.
3) “UCOP Don’t Touch Me.” With student referendums being taxed, the University of California Office of the President essentially makes tax money off double-taxing students on their own measures. This campaign would work to get rid of this tax in order to save the students of the University money that is unfairly being taxed upon them.
After these campaigns had been chosen after the first round of voting, these three campaigns were voted upon with either a yes or no vote in order to decide whether UCSA would ultimately pursue the campaign for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Ultimately, the UCOP Don’t Touch Me and the UC Regent Reform campaigns were approved by the UCSA Congress, and the Master Plan B campaign was voted down. In addition, the Fund the UC program was affirmed from last year’s Congress and will continue to be supported throughout the coming year.
In attendance for the UC Irvine was a large delegation of approximately 60 students, which included the Executive Vice President’s office and staff as well as President Traci Ishigo.
Other programs, such as the Middle Class Scholarship bill and prison reform were at the forefront of the discussions for the following year and the upcoming elections. With the elections, voter registration took a high precedent in the priorities of the delegation, as UC Irvine’s 7 percent registration paled in comparison to other UCs, such as UCSB which reached approximately 50 percent.
UCSA’s Congress not only highlighted issues currently pressing the minds of students of the UC system, but also chose a course of action to deal with these problems.