UC Santa Cruz student elections are around the corner, running from April 18 to April 25, which means students will get the chance to weigh in on issues around campus and approve proposed campus-based fees.
Differing from student fees, which are set by the university administration, campus-based fee measures are student-proposed referenda on whether or not to tax the student population for funding towards various facilities and organizations. In order for a measure to pass, it would need at least 66 percent approval with more than 25 percent turnout from the student population.
Currently, students pay $500.07 in campus-based fees per quarter, some of which include funding for Cultural Arts and Diversity and free transportation via buses.
Opinion polls are also included on the ballot and are used to survey the campus population on various issues and student-led initiatives.
While opinion polls may not necessarily lead to direct changes in university policy, they are vital resources to poll authors in influencing university policy and future campus-based fee measures. For example, both campus-based measures on the ballot were trialed as opinion polls in previous campus elections.
As election links are sent to your inbox, City on a Hill Press has compiled a list of opinion polls and measures that may help clarify your questions on what you’re voting on and how it would affect campus life and your myUCSC bills.
Measure 76: Sustainability Office Fee
Measure 76, or the Sustainability Office Fee, would charge students quarterly to fund programs related to sustainability and environmental awareness at UCSC. If Measure 76 is established, students will be charged an additional $3 per quarter. The price will increase by three percent annually until 2032, and will be $3.91 by the end of the measure’s 10-year period.
The fee would fund undergraduate employment within the sustainability office, student-staff to attend the Sustainability and Social Justice Inter-Organizational Retreat, and host more programming.
“If Fee Measure 76 isn’t passed, we wouldn’t have as many paid student positions with the Sustainability office. It would be a lot harder to make greater sustainability changes on campus,” said Yara Sheikhvand, Sustainability Fee Measure coordinator
Without funding from Measure 76, the retreat would no longer be free of charge for attendees, and job opportunities would be cut back.
The fee was on the ballot in 2020 and gained 80 percent of the student vote, but fee voting was postponed until this year due to low voter turnout. Sheikhvand urges people to vote so that the events of 2020 do not repeat themselves.
“A vote for this would mean growth for the entire campus and its students, not just the office itself because these issues affect everyone,” said Sheikhvand. “Voting yes for Fee Measure 76 would be voting yes for sustainability.”
Measure 77: Student Jobs In Broadcasting
Measure 77, or Student Jobs in Broadcasting, would implement an additional $3.50 student fee to aid monetary compensation for unpaid student workers at the KZSC Radio Station. If the referendum does not pass, the station will continue to run on a mostly volunteer-based system.
Similarly to Measure 76, nearly 70 percent of voters in the 2020 election supported this measure, but due to low voter turnout, final voting was postponed. KZSC’s Government Board member Chloe Beebe explained that if the student workers were paid, it would create a more diverse community at the station that is more representative of the university and the larger population of Santa Cruz.
“Unpaid work tends to attract people with more privilege and shut others out whose time must be used to work for wages [in addition to being a full-time student], in order to afford living expenses in Santa Cruz,” Beebe said. “[This measure] would be enough to fund the livelihood of 28 people and foster a more diverse and equitable community space for the cost of a coffee.”
Opinion Poll: Students for Sustaining Black Wellness
Voters will be asked to share their opinions on the African-American Theater Arts Troupe (AATAT) and the Black Student Union (BSU) co-sponsored Students for Sustaining Black Wellness Referendum. With only one Black-identifying counselor amidst 17 Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselors to serve more than 17,000 undergraduate students, this referendum is asking for the administration to allocate more funds to hire more African, Black, and Caribbean (ABC) identifying counselors. The referendum also entails more funding for AATAT from the administration, unlike Measures 76 and 77 which come from student fees.
“The fact that we only have one Black therapist and the amount of overworking that she does to be there for all of these Black students is too much for just one person,” said Rae Williams, a first-year student and a member of AATAT. “We need more Black counselors.”
Williams spoke of their own struggle when trying to get CAPS counseling. Though they were able to connect with Jackie Rabouin, the only Black-identifying counselor, Williams mentioned other students having to wait weeks in order to get an appointment.
Even with the impact that AATAT has on Black students and other students of color, AATAT’s requests for funding have historically been ignored by the administration. Instead, students voted to tax themselves in order to keep the program alive in 2011.
Junebug Sonnenberg, the treasurer of the Cultural Arts and Diversity and a member of AATAT speaks on the way that AATAT has supported them and other students.
“I’ve heard at least 10 individual students in my past two years say that if it wasn’t for AATAT that they would have dropped out, or transferred schools or, could have possibly not even been alive,” Sonnenberg said. “There is space for healing in what we do. We’re happy to be that space, but we don’t want to be the only one.”
Opinion Poll: Inclusion of Student Voice in Campus Decision Making
The opinion poll “Inclusion of Student Voice in Campus Decision Making” highlights the values UCSC promotes, but students feel are neglected.
The main point is that UCSC seeks to amplify its commitment to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. This is highlighted in administration’s Strategic Academic Plan of March 2021, but needs to be held accountable in areas they are failing to do so.
The questions in the poll range from rating UCSC’s commitment to being open, caring, just, diverse, disciplined, purposeful, and celebrative, to asking to what extent one feels they have a say in what the university does.
Apart from that, the poll inquires students to ask themselves if they trust other students in having necessary skills and insight to being able to have a say in what UCSC does.
María Dolores Castillo, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and co-author of the poll, says she hopes that the administration at UCSC will not only hear students’ voices but that they will implement change.
“It is usually the case that there will be one student, usually a graduate student, who will contribute to the conversation,” Castillo said “But that isn’t enough. There are many other students living in the dorms, being in the classrooms, and struggling. We need to hear from those people too.”
Opinion Poll: Campus Election 2022 Enviroslug Opinion Poll Language
Enviroslug is proposing an opinion poll evaluating students’ opinions regarding UCSC’s failure to meet Zero Waste promises from 2020.
Enviroslug and the Student Environmental Center (SEC) are student-run organizations promoting sustainability and environmentalism on campus. As the organization currently works on their No Time to Waste campaign, SEC aims to respond to the inaction of campus leadership to meet sustainability goals.
In an attempt to uplift student voices, Enviroslug is asking the student body to vote on two questions regarding single-use products used on campus.
“The goal of Enviroslug’s opinion poll is to see if there is a voice behind the waste issue on campus and the lack of student involvement in campus development plans. We are practicing democracy and want to align our campaign with the needs and interests of the community,” second-year SEC organizer Eliana Bower wrote in an email.
In all of Enviroslug’s endeavors, a primary goal is to highlight student voice and agency. As the University moves forward with plans such as the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), directly impacting student housing and experience, SEC hopes that by promoting student opinions, admin will produce change accordingly.
Campus elections will be open from April 18-25, and students can vote via electronic ballot here. You can access the ballot language for measures here, and for opinion polls here.
This article has been updated to amend inaccuracies and grammatical errors
City on a Hill Press has included a note on April 25 to address information omitted from the original publication: The Inclusion of Student Voice in Campus Decision Making Opinion Poll was authored by current SUA President Shivika Sivakumar in addition to María Dolores Castillo. Sivakumar and Castillo authored the poll with additional support from the Vice President of Internal Affairs Kayla Gomez and members of the African American Theater Arts Troupe. The poll was sponsored by the SUA.