In an 8-4-0 vote, this year’s Undergraduate Students Association Council saw its first divided vote on a resolution at its meeting Tuesday evening. But the lack of consensus shouldn’t hinder its progress on a campaign that tackles important issues.
The resolution, titled Invest in Graduations, Not Incarceration; Transform Education, commonly referred to as IGNITE, called for the council to support and educate students about a University of California Student Association campaign.
IGNITE aims to bolster retention and outreach programs for underrepresented communities in the University of California, an investment UCSA believes will help alleviate the disproportionate representation of those communities in state prisons.
The major point of contention among the councilmembers was the IGNITE campaign’s support of California Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, which would remove the ban on the consideration of race, ethnicity, sex and national origin in the admission of students and hiring of employees in public higher education.
The campaign advocates for the repeal of parts of Proposition 209, California’s ban on affirmative action, with the intention of increasing diversity at public universities.
The four councilmembers who voted against the resolution said they support the holistic admissions process and were uncomfortable supporting SCA 5. UCLA currently uses the holistic admissions model, taking into consideration a variety of factors relating to a potential student’s socioeconomic status and academic performance.
But the Senate constitutional amendment is only one component of the expansive campaign laid out in the resolution.
By definition, a USAC resolution is a formal expression of opinion on an issue by USAC, representing the holistic view of the student body. One portion of the campaign shouldn’t prevent all 13 councilmembers from honoring the resolution, since it was passed by a majority vote.
IGNITE also pushes for the support and creation of retention and campus access programs at UC schools and the establishment of resource centers for formerly incarcerated youth looking to further their educations, items the entire council can stand behind.
For the resolution to hold any real weight with the student body, every councilmember needs to find a way to further the campaign.
Each member of the council should educate students about the different aspects of the campaign that they do agree on – whether it’s acting as an individual councilmember or incorporating an aspect of the campaign into one of their office’s programs.
For students to look at USAC resolutions as more than just a symbolic piece of paper, the council should respect the majority vote and act united to make progress on the campaign.