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University of California Students Association passes no confidence resolution

By Rafael Sands

Jan. 13, 2015 1:42 a.m.

The University of California Student Association passed a resolution Sunday conveying their lack of confidence in the UC Board of Regents and UC President Janet Napolitano.

The vote, which took place at a UCSA Board of Directors meeting in UC Santa Cruz, comes after UCLA’s student government passed a similar resolution in December, along with UC Riverside, Davis and Berkeley. The board, which advocates for UC students, passed the resolution with an 11-1-3 vote.

“One of the things we’ve recognized is the only way we can exercise any power, since we can’t impeach regents and we have no say in the (appointment of regents), is by leveraging negative opinion against the UC,” said Kevin Sabo, chair of the UCSA Board of Directors, who sponsored the resolution. “They really can’t afford the negative publicity.”

The vote was primarily a response to the UC regents’ recent plan to raise tuition by up to 5 percent annually for the next five years beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, depending on the UC receiving sufficient state funding. The plan sparked protests across the state when it was announced in November.

The resolution included passages outlining the specific frustrations the UCSA board has had with the regents, such as what UCSA members believed was the UC’s minimal response to student protests after the tuition hike plan was announced.

“I really have no idea what the reason is for why people would vote against the resolution,” said Conrad Contreras, UCLA’s Undergraduate Students Association Council external vice president. “It is an understatement to say we have no confidence in the regents and Napolitano.”

In a press release last Friday, UC President Janet Napolitano said she thinks the UC’s only option is tuition hikes if the University does not get the additional funding it wants from the state.

“UC has cut costs, generated new revenue, bolstered efficiencies and achieved significant savings,” she said.

The lone dissenting vote on UCSA’s resolution came from Timothy Ma, the external vice president at the UC Irvine Associated Graduate Students. He could not be reached for comment. He did not speak at the meeting, Sabo said.

The UCSA version of the resolution, compared to one USAC passed in December, does not include the passage on Assembly Bill 970. The bill requires the UC Regents to consult students before implementing any tuition changes, which some student leaders said UC regents failed to do in November. Some members argued that the regents did not actually break that agreement however, Sabo said, leading to the passage taken out of the UCSA version of the resolution.

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