Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.

Deadline for CLASS Survey Extended

Organizers of the University of California Class and Lecture Availability Student Survey (CLASS) are recruiting UC students to take a survey that assesses the availability of classes in the UC system by Feb. 20.

The need for the survey comes in wake of recent budget cuts.

The current goal for CLASS is to have a response rate of 20 percent across the UC so they can present it to the University of California Education Policy committee and the UC Office of the President.  They hope to have the results impact UC administrative decisions in the coming years.

CLASS was developed by the office of the Commissioner of Academic Affairs based on a survey conducted last year at UCSC.  It has been available since Feb. 1, and students have until this Sunday to complete it.

Lizzie Bernard, a Stevenson College second-year, has actively participated in the promotion of the survey on her Facebook. Bernard said the survey is important because her own personal experience with enrollment has been difficult. After being unable to get classes for her major multiple times, Bernard decided to take the quarter off and is unsure if she will ever return to the UC.

“I don’t think that the money that I’m spending on this education is worth it,” Bernard said. “They don’t really deserve my money if I can’t get my class.”

Problems like those of Bernard are what second-year Stevenson College SUA representative Jessica Greenstreet, one of the organizers of CLASS, hopes the survey will work to solve.

Greenstreet also hopes that the survey will become institutionalized and distributed in future years as well.

“It’s not something that’s going to make change in a year,” she said. “But as we get data from years and years, [the] administration can’t ignore it.”

UC system fails public records request audit

UC Santa Cruz received an “F” for its compliance with public records request in a report released by the nonprofit group Californians Aware (CalAware).

The report ranked both UC and CSU schools. The average score for the CSU schools was an 86 out of 100, while the UC average was a 46, with UC Santa Cruz getting a 40.

To compile the report, CalAware asked each school for five documents and written guidelines for the accessibility of records. After an original request made Nov. 29, CalAware was redirected to the UC Office of the President for some of the documents. They were also told that one of the requests wouldn’t be available until Feb. 28.

UCSC graduate Dana Burd has been waiting on several document requests since Oct. 2009.

“I find it hard to believe that they are so backlogged that requests from 2009 would still be [pending],” Burd said. “They see this more as an inconvenience than an obligation.”

According to the report posted on the CalAware website, “UC … [requires] requesters to chase down documents from different offices within their institution.”

Jim Burns, UCSC’s director of public information, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that backlog was a source of the delay, noting that there is one person who deals with over 300 requests in the Chancellor’s office each year.

The group is offering free training for public information officers to the audited agencies, including UCSC. The report concludes that overall, the CSU system’s information accessibility is superior to that of the UC.

“The fact that almost half the CSU campuses achieved an A-plus perfect score is convincing evidence that full compliance with public records access law is not an unreasonable burden but a readily and frequently satisfied expectation,” according to the report. “The fact that most UC campuses scored an F is, accordingly, a sorry outcome indeed.”