ASUC Drafts Two Bills Opposing Budget Cuts

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In response to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed $500 million cut from the UC budget, the ASUC Senate is looking to pass two bills that condemn the blow to the state's higher education system and recommend letters be written to campus and state officials.

The bills are framed as a student response to the cuts, which come two months after an 8 percent systemwide fee increase, and urge the UC Board of Regents not to fill the loss of funding with more fees.

"The second I saw the news of Jerry Brown's budget, I thought about ways - from the perspective of an ASUC senator - we could do something about it," said Student Action Senator Joey Freeman, author of one of the bills.

While both bills address the same concern, some sections confront different facets and propose slightly different solutions.

Freeman said the two bills will likely be made into one before they reach committee meetings on Monday because they were written independently as an immediate response to the cuts.

Beyond writing letters to the governor, UC Board of Regents Chairman Russell Gould and political leaders in Sacramento, the bills suggest sending a message to the other UC campuses. CalSERVE Senator Stefan Montouth, a co-author of one of the bills, said the senate hopes to do this in order to unite students around the issue.

"This is affecting millions of students across the state," Montouth said in an e-mail. "It is important for students on as many campuses as possible (to) unite in this fight for public education."

Newly appointed Director of the UC Student Association Matt Haney, a 2004 UC Berkeley alumnus, has also expressed an interest in developing a student voice on the issue, saying that he will likely pay a visit to the senate.

According to Haney, the association will bring over 400 students from across the state to Sacramento in February to lobby state politicians on student concerns.

"By the nature of this current crisis, I think everyone's going to have to work harder and make a coordinated effort to get the student voice out there loud and clear," said ASUC President Noah Stern.

Stern said though fee increases and cuts have continued in spite of consistent protests by students, the senate bills are a necessary step along with continued development with the association, whom he described as "the mouthpiece of the collective student body."

"The worst thing we can do is throw our hands up and say 'all is lost' and just give up," Stern said. "At the very minimum we need to continue our efforts."

Haney and Stern said they will be meeting next week to discuss other ways they can work together on the issue before Haney addresses the senate, which could happen as soon as Feb. 2.


J.D. Morris is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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