Sunday, July 21

In defense of lobbying efforts

In response to Jarrod Goldberg’s opinion piece (“USAC external vice president office ineffectively unites students against fee hikes,” April 27), we have to make clear that the members of the California Democracy Act Coalition and the Bruin Lobby Corps find his views on our efforts to make college more affordable misleading and very ill-informed.

As leaders of both these organizations, we find his proposal of simply “bringing students together” to make college more affordable to be disingenuous and a hollow answer to the enormous challenges that both University of California students and the state currently face.

It’s curious that Mr. Goldberg doesn’t bother offering any concrete solutions of his own. While he may enjoy criticizing the hard work of students who have visited with almost every single state legislator and member of Congress in the Greater Los Angeles area, he should know that the Bruin Lobby Corps has been developing working relationships with the relevant elected officials and getting important pieces of legislation passed, including the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Not only this, but when Cal Grants were in danger of being eliminated last year, we successfully helped organize a statewide effort that led to a new budget with the original $880 million in Cal Grants restored.

We have also made an unprecedented effort to bring students from all around campus on our lobby visits, as well as train them on how to lobby their own issues.

I’d like to formally invite Mr. Goldberg to join us on a visit so he can see what it is we do.

Lastly, the Bruin Lobby Corps proudly lobbies on the California Democracy Act to help restore democracy to a broken budget-making process that can only guarantee cuts to higher education and financial aid. All it takes is a legislative minority ““ in either house ““ to say “no” to a majority of legislators who genuinely want to do what’s right for students and for higher education, until they get everything they want, including cuts to higher education.

The Bruin Lobby Corps, along with the California Democracy Act Coalition, wants to change this so that the majority of Californians who wish to can express through their legislators that they value students and higher education. It’s difficult to see how we can meaningfully rescue the UC system and its students without bringing back democracy to a flawed budget-making process. That’s a solution, and a moral imperative, and it’s time for Mr. Goldberg to make a more honest contribution to this discussion.

Ah San is director of Bruin Lobby Corps, statewide student director for California Democracy Act Coalition and a fourth-year music and economics student. Overli is director of scheduling for Bruin Lobby Corps, statewide director of petitioning for the California Democracy Act Coalition and a second-year political science student. Arruejo is legislative liaison for the University of California Student Association and a second-year political science student. Huynh is UCLA Campus Representative for the California Democracy Act Coalition and a second-year political science student.

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