Friday, September 23, 2011 at 12:01 am
Updated Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm
The multiyear UC budget proposal presented to the UC Regents at this September meeting proposes to automatically increase student fees from 8 to 16 percent each year for at least the next four years. That means by the 2015-16 school year, UC students could be facing costs of about $22,000 a year in tuition alone — depending on how much the state chips in. For example, if California increases its contribution to the UCs by 8 percent a year, then the tuition hikes being shoved down the throats of students would be 8 percent per year (which would mean about $16,600 per year by 2015-16). If the state contributed no increase one year, then student fees would increase 16 percent that year and tuition could be even higher.
The proposal operates on the premise that to move the UC system forward, it is necessary to accelerate UC privatization and increase the reliance on private donations and corporate investment and philanthropy. It commits the state to disinvest from the UC system, and it represents a shameful political retreat from the egalitarian and democratic mission of the UCs — to provide all of California’s students with access and opportunity to obtain a world-class higher education.
This proposal is stupid and a betrayal of the democratic history of public higher education in California. Because it creates a built-in mechanism to increase funding off the backs of students, it completely lets the state off the hook from having to increase state funding to the UCs. There will be no incentive for California to fulfill its obligation to the UCs if they know the Regents are prepared to charge what is essentially an additional and regressive tax on students that would hit poor, working class and middle class students and families the hardest.
We completely reject this. We know that our student movement is capable of mobilizing the social power of California’s Hispanic, black, Native American and other underrepresented minorities and immigrant communities to smash through this entire cycle of budget cuts and fee increases. Our movement, fighting to defend public education as a right for all students, can force the state to come up with new money and increased revenue streams by taxing the corporations, taxing the billionaires and fighting for massive federal investment for higher education.
We call on students across the state to mobilize and attend the UC Regents meeting on November 16 and 17 at UC San Francisco to demand that they reject the draconian multiyear budget plan. Students are the most powerful political force in society today. Our movement can stop this senseless plan and defend the democratic gains that were won. It’s up to us to lead California back on the road to progress once again.