By John Williams
The 2007 UC Santa Cruz campus elections are now in full swing, and the power to control future funding for critical services are in the hands of student voters.
A student elections forum held on May 9 covered each of the ballot measures, which combined would add $20.64 per quarter to undergraduate tuition and $4.50 to graduate school tuition if passed.
The money would financially bolster organizations ranging from Learning Support Services, which provides campus-wide tutoring, to athletics and physical education classes.
Morgan McCarthy, a member of the women’s soccer team and co-vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, works for the campaign to pass Measure 31. If passed, Measure 31 would add $5 to student fees, money that would fund athletics programs that are already facing major financial cuts.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen to the athletics department if this measure doesn’t pass,” McCarthy said.
Only 30 or so students assembled in Classroom Unit I, which seats 200, to hear student representatives from each ballot measure plead their cases.
There are some people who believe that it should be the university’s responsibility to fund these services and not the students’. Josh Sonnenfeld, a fourth-year feminist studies major, created a Facebook group for students opposed to increased tuition fees.
“We need to be concerned about the way in which administrators irresponsibly use our student fee voting process to get funding for things that the state and the administration â€“ not students â€“ should be paying for,” Sonnenfeld told City on a Hill Press (CHP).
Justin Brock, a soccer player who was out campaigning for Measure 31, discussed this issue with CHP.
“This student fee is our only option, the administration is taking away our funding. It sucks for fees to go up, but we don’t have a lot of options.”
Other students feel the real problem is the overall lack of funding for education and the university. Shawn Harris, who helped organize the Iraq War protest on May 9, spoke with CHP about the problem.
“This kind of thing is bound to happen when we can spend $1.2 trillion on a pointless war,” he said. “There’s no way we can have enough money to sufficiently fund a university.”
Sonnenfeld believes part of the problem is poor allocation of the money the university has.
“We have to be critical of this whole ‘we have no money’ rhetoric as well,” he said. “If we have no money, how can we expand the university? How is it that UC administrators are getting millions in perks and over $400,000 per year in salaries?”