Sunday, October 20

The Alternative Commission on the Future asks UC Regents to listen to students before deciding their fate

In its final meeting of the year, the Alternative Commission on the Future examined ways to effectively get the UC Board of Regents and the Commission on the Future to listen to the concerns and criticism of students throughout the University of California system.

The Alternative Commission was originally assembled in response to the actions of the Commission on the Future, a formal group created by the Board of Regents to suggest ways to serve California in a climate of diminishing resources.

At the meeting, the Alternative Commission also discussed ways to maintain the movement’s momentum following the close of the academic year in June and going into next year.

According to Eric Gardner, commission attendee and co-founder of UCLA Students for a Democratic Society, students are overwhelmingly opposed to the recommendations of the Commission on the Future and indicate they believe the recommendations do not reflect the interests of the students or the stakeholders within the UC system.

The focal point of the Alternative Commission’s movement is an online survey in which students, faculty and families in the UC system can grade the proposals made by the Commission on the Future, such as the institution of three-year degrees, 10 percent reduction in teaching staff and increases in out-of-state admissions.

While just fewer than 150 respondents from the entire UC have participated since the survey began a few weeks ago, the Alternative Commission’s members said they hope they can send a report to regents that represents at least 500 to 1,000 voices.

“We believe that the Commission on the Future is making these huge sweeping decisions on how the university will be run behind everyone’s back,” Gardner said. “With a survey, we will be able to demonstrate that the commission is totally accountable to everyone, and they are not even aware of what it is.”

The greatest concern over the currently amassed survey results is the lack of awareness among undergraduate students regarding what the Commission on the Future is. A recent sample of 50 students showed that only six had even heard of the commission.

“There was not serious outreach to the students,” said Robert Samuels, president of the University of California, American Federation of Teachers.

“(The Commission on the Future) did not make it a priority, so students don’t get it.”

In order to increase that awareness, the Alternative Commission plans to distribute the surveys in classes and at commencement events as well as advertise the online version of the survey.

While the Alternative Commission prepares the results of the survey for the July regents meeting, members are also advocating for the election of UCLA alumna Marcy Winograd to Congress to represent California’s 36th District.

“She understands that we need transparency in the budget, that money that students pay has to go to their education and that the university has to do a better job on accounting for how they spend that money,” Samuels said.

To find the Alternative Commission on the Future’s survey, visit

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