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Letter to the Editor

By Daily Bruin Staff

December 2, 2009 9:12 pm

Students lobby Regents, legislators

The Daily Bruin featured a submission by Todd Sargent (“Students should lobby state legislature,” Nov. 24) suggesting that students need to turn their attention toward lobbying state legislators in matters concerning fee increases and college affordability, while also suggesting that the UC Board of Regents has no responsibility for those issues.

The Bruin Lobby Corps, the official legislative advocacy wing of the Undergraduate Student Association Council External Vice President’s office, has been lobbying state legislators on issues concerning the cost of higher education. Just this quarter alone we’ve lobbied Assembly Members Mike Feuer, Julia Brownley, John Pérez, Anthony Portantino and Kevin de Leon, as well as Senator Gloria Romero.

We recognize the role that the state has played in the 32 percent fee hikes which were recently enacted at the November regents’ meeting, so we have been putting our resources into lobbying the state Legislature to ensure that education is fully funded in future budgets.

For example, we have encouraged legislators to endorse the California Democracy Act, a ballot proposition that would more easily allow the state Legislature to raise the necessary funds for California higher education.

We also cannot ignore the role that the UC Regents have played in the increased fees; therefore, we have also chosen to lobby them.

In addition, this past August, the UC Regents loaned the state nearly $200 million dollars, money that the University of California Students Association estimates would have saved every UC student $1,000. In the midst of massive fee increases, this was incredibly irresponsible.

The UC Regents had control over their decision to raise fees outside of the decision of the state to cut funding. Both the state and the UC Regents have made California public higher education less affordable and less accessible.

The Bruin Lobby Corps is also working at the federal level, lobbying for the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.

We have made sure that all levels of government that could affect college affordability have been the target of our lobby visits, and we will continue these efforts in the future.

Erienne Overli

Third-year, political science Director of Scheduling, Bruin Lobby Corps Treasurer, Bruin Democrats

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