I made two trips to Berkeley in the last week. Early Thursday morning, around 12:30 am, I left on a bus to Berkeley headed for the UC Regents meeting. My position as EVP of the GSA requires being pretty involved in university affairs and policy changes that affect students. The position is actually great for me considering I’m interested in this stuff academically.
I was the only graduate student on the bus, but that was okay. I like the undergrads, they’re all full of energy and remind me a lot of myself. They can make 24-hour turnaround trips to Berkeley and back to LA without blinking an eye. I’ve made a handful of trips like that myself, but that was when I was young (heh).
The organization I work with as the EVP, the UC Student Association, has been organizing for quite sometime regarding the issue of fee increases for all students at the UC as well as trying to get increased financial aid. The UC Regents — most appointed by the Governor, and a few ex-officio who serve by virtue of an elected position — are generally targeted for students for doing things like passing Standing Policy (SP) 1 & 2 in 1995 which eliminated the use of race, ethnicity and gender in admissions, contracting and hiring. Lately, though, all students are pretty fed up with the last 5 years of fee hikes. The last three years, which coincide with a budget crisis in California, have been the worst. Higher education is getting increasingly expensive in California (as it is elsewhere in the nation, as well). Tuition has increased 72% for undergraduates, 84% for graduate students, and 69%-131% for professional students, the lowest for nursing and highest for law and business schools.
At the same time the fees are skyrocketing, financial aid has been cut and there are other cuts to federal financial aid.
Anyway, the rally and march to Clark Kerr Campus (part of UC Berkeley where the Regents were meeting), went well but it was a day late. The Regents, had already voted to increase fees (bad) and financial aid (good) on Wednesday. That wasn’t necessarily the result of bad planning on our part, since the Regents traditionally vote on the budget on the second day of their meeting. Oh well.
I went home Thursday afternoon still a little confused about what happened at the Regents meeting and what the next steps would be from there, but that was cleared up on Saturday and Sunday at the UCSA board meeting. I flew up Friday evening… all that travelling takes it’s toll.
Over the weekend I spent 13 hours in a meeting split over two days, hoped that the Fresno State Bulldogs would actually beat SUC (not a typo), went out to a fun bar in Oakland with Vane and two other friends from LA, drove our PT Cruiser rental car with the top down, shopped at Rasputin’s, ate some of a nutella and strawberry crepe from Crepes A-Go-Go, got two know my staff better (Linh and Monte), took a morning walk by the Berkeley Marina, and had my second Thanksgiving dinner with my friend Victor and his friends.
I wouldn’t mind trips to Berkeley if the trip wasn’t so long. There’s just way too much California between LA and the Bay.