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ASUCI Not Leaving UCSA

After being granted a fee waiver for the remainder of the 2016-17 academic year, ASUCI reconsidered its proposal to leave the University of California Student Association (UCSA), opting to wait until the end of spring quarter 2017 to vote on whether or not to leave the association.

UCSA is a coalition representing students from all ten UC campuses, whose mission is to “advocate on behalf of current and future students for the accessibility, affordability and quality of the University of California system.” UCSA sends a representative to each UC Regents meeting, and organizes three UC-wide conferences each year.

ASUCI’s Dec. 2016 proposal to leave the association was largely prompted by UCSA’s alleged mishandling of one of these conferences, the Students of Color Conference (SoCC), which was held at UCI in 2016 from Nov. 18-20.

According to the legislation, UCSA members expressed disregard for the mental health of SoCC organizers from UCI and did not offer logistical assistance, leading to a poorly-organized conference with members of several delegations leaving early. The authors of the legislation to leave UCSA, who were also leaders of UCI’s SoCC organizers, said that this mishandling was only one result of UCSA’s disregard for UCI’s needs as an individual campus. However, due to recent efforts on the part of the UCSA board to address UCI’s concerns, the authors of the legislation decided to postpone consideration.

“ASUCI [will] review its [UCSA] membership status … upon a detailed analysis of its actions and commitments to UCI students during the next few months,” said External Vice President Taylor Chanes at ASUCI Senate’s meeting last Tuesday.

Chanes, who wrote and proposed the legislation to leave UCSA, noted that the fee waiver influenced the decision to table the legislation, along with a recent UCSA board meeting which focused on better meeting the needs of UCI students and other individual campuses.

“In the first part of the meeting, UCSA focused on restructuring and addressing the lack of organization efforts,” said Chanes. “The other committee that they started was the SoCC committee to address the issues that arise every year, [since] every year there is controversy.”

Chanes explained that UCSA acknowledging the struggles of UCI’s SoCC planners influenced the decision to postpone consideration of leaving.

“A lot of the [SoCC] leaders are the ones who take a lot of heat and pain. UCSA expressed their acknowledgement that this happens all the time at this conference,” said Chanes. “We also have been working on a list of demands for UCSA for the coming year. Ultimately it will take time to see their efforts.”

ASUCI Senate resolved to allow the next External Vice President, who will be elected during spring quarter along with a new coalition of ASUCI leaders, to decide whether to further explore leaving UCSA.