Saturday, August 24

Students voice thoughts on state budget proposals at Bruin Day of Action

Students signed postcards detailing their perspectives on the budget proposals during the "Bruin Day of Action" event Tuesday. (Chengcheng Zhang/Daily Bruin)

Students signed postcards detailing their perspectives on the budget proposals during the "Bruin Day of Action" event Tuesday. (Chengcheng Zhang/Daily Bruin)

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the EVP office collected about 200 signed postcards. In fact, it collected about 500.

Students voiced their opposition to a California budget proposal that would increase University of California tuition at an event Wednesday.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Office of the External Vice President held the “Bruin Day of Action” to inform students about how state funding allocations could impact college affordability and to convey their concerns to legislators, said EVP Chloe Pan. The event held teach-in workshops led by speakers from political organizations and student groups, such as the Afrikan Student Union, in campus locations such as Janss Steps and Haines Hall, said Leila Shaygan, the EVP office’s civic engagement co-director.

California state legislators have proposed cutting higher education state funds from 4 percent to 3 percent in January, Pan said. In response, the UC Board of Regents is planning to raise tuition by 2.5 percent for the 2018-2019 academic year, she added.

The funding diverted from higher education will pay for the damage caused by the Northern California fires in October, she said.

Shaygan, a second-year political science student, said the workshops taught students how to communicate with state officials by writing letters to influence the officials’ votes on the state budget. She added the EVP office collected about 500 signed postcards detailing students’ perspectives on the budget proposal during the event to send to state officials who draft budget decisions.

Pan said she thinks the workshops will help students understand how state budget decisions affect specific communities like low-income, international and undocumented students.

Various student groups gave workshops on how potential state budget cuts would affect students.

Liliana Moran, a representative from Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success, which supports undocumented students, held a workshop to help undocumented students navigate financial aid applications for the next academic school year.

Sylvia Moore, an organizer from California Common Cause, which works to increase voter participation, held a workshop to teach students how campaign contributions influence elections. Moore said she thinks campaign contributions can influence how politicians vote on bills that affect higher education affordability.

“It is important for students to get involved (in elections) because these issues affect them and their future,” she said.

Several students who attended the workshop said they learned more about political participation, such as how to get involved in political campaigns.

Michael Wang, a fifth-year computer science student, said he was complacent about politics before Donald Trump was elected president and added the event taught him more about how elections work.

“This event is a good way to gain knowledge about my constitutional rights, which I was never taught about in school,” he said.

Sarah Barukh, the EVP office’s civic engagement co-director, said she thinks the workshops helped students learn about how to get involved with political student organizations on campus.

“These workshops are not one-stop shops but a persistent conversation about issues that affect students,” said Barukh, a third-year political science and sociology student.

Pan said the EVP office will hold similar events after the California state budget is released in January.

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