To the Editor:
In 2003, at UCSC 90.74 percent of voting students made a monumental decision to pass Measure 7, the Campus Programs Fee, in an effort to preserve valuable student services cut by the state, students agreed to levy a tax of up to $51 per student per quarter. At the time an overwhelming majority of students believed the University’s and the State’s budget would equalize and the state would restore funding to the University. As every student today knows, this never happened. Today Measure 7 is the life source for many students’ services, funding programming, staff salaries and benefits.
Eight years later, UCSC students now face another student services funding crisis. Measure 7 was not designed to permanently backfill state cuts to student services. Instead, the money was supposed to temporarily subsidize state cuts that would be eventually restored. Nevertheless, it has become a crucial component funding approximately fifty campus services, including some of the most recognizable units providing campus services. For example, the Resource Centers, the Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), OPERS, SOAR, SHOP, etc. receives substantial Measure 7 funding to support staffing. As a result, Measure 7 is now in a deficit. Measure 7 does not generate enough revenue to fund programming and the increasing costs of salaries and benefits. As such, we must confront Measure 7’s devastating structural deficit. Without an increase or cost of living adjustment, the $51 per student per quarter will not cover the increasing costs of staff salaries and benefits that support student services. We, the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC), have been consulted by administration in an attempt to resolve this major campus issue. As an advisory committee to the administration, we are confronted with a daunting challenge. One the one hand we do not want to return Measure 7 to the ballot to increase the fee amount, thus allowing UCSC students to fund this structural deficit. Nonetheless we must be faithful to the student’s desires for quality student services.
To successfully accomplish this goal, we must ask every UCSC student: are you willing to tax yourself more to fix this problem? If not where are we willing to cut? In other words, is the student body willing to tax themselves more to preserve staffing for student services? To solicit feedback, SFAC now turns to City on the Hill Press. It is our hope that the publication of this letter will spark a conversation about student referenda and, more importantly, encourage every UCSC student to actively engage in the decision making process regarding funding of student services.
The Student Fee Advisory Committee