Statement at ASUCSD Public Input Session 2/22/12

In Privatization on February 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I come tonight to express my deep disappointment with ASUCSD.

On Wednesday, February 8th, a Resolution to support March 1st and the Call to Action from the Public Education Coalition was passed by this governing body.

The language in this resolution is quite explicit in its declaration for AS to fully and actively support this call to action.

There have been lots of discussions lately about why AS as a body needs to maintain its neutrality on the position of Division 1 Athletics, while still encouraging students to vote; however, individual members are well within their rights to express personal opinions and stances on this issue.

The way I see it, this resolution supporting March 1st binds AS as a body to actively support and educate the student body and the University Administration about March 1st and help garner support for it.

When I went to UC Riverside for the Regents meeting on January 19th, ASUCR was out there in the streets with us the whole time. They were passing out buttons and shirts that said “AS – Taking A Stand 2012.” They led chants and they were there when the cops showed up. They were exhibiting true leadership throughout the day.

Then I came back to UCSD, and what did I see? I saw student government bringing an election to students that will potentially have them raising fees on themselves in one vote; and including a survey question that hides proposed budget numbers from the greater student population and, in my opinion, delegitimizes students’ efforts to reclaim our university from the poisonous effects of fee hikes and privatization.

That’s not what I want to see from my student government. I want to see students dedicated to the issues that are hitting them the hardest. I want to see this body dedicated to issues that are greater than profit margins and resumé padding.

Why is it that grassroots organizers have to go to college councils and lobby for these resolutions to be passed, 2 weeks after A.S. Mandated that resolutions be brought to college council meetings?

Why does it fall on 10 people to flyer an entire university and try to educate 20,000+ students in under a month, when Senators have been told to “actively publicize and inform the campus about the Day of Action and provide resources where they are needed”? And then have our flyers targeted to be taken down, even when they are placed in legal posting areas and all codes are followed?

Why are there town halls about the special election, but none about this international Day of Action which has been in the works for months?

As I said, there are individuals within the AS body that have worked tirelessly with networks on campus to make sure this action happens. However, I want to see the representative body of A.S. At our action on March First and to aid us in our continuous mobilization of this campus.

President Wing, I am most disappointed in you. As president, it is your duty to lead this council and the policies it dedicates its time and effort to. You promised to “protect study spaces and battle against reductions toward libraries – NO cuts without student consent”. I have not seen you once at CLICS. I do not consent to that study space being changed without more student input and deliberation, and you can look at the petition delivered to your office to see almost 1300 names that agree with me. You should have fought to include the proposed budget numbers on the CLICS question in the referendum. You should fight more to have this council focus on issues of public education, justice and equality for each and every student currently on this campus AND its future inhabitants.

The time for neutrality is over. If Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiatives do not pass this November, the UC system will face another 200 million dollar budget cut and the strong likelihood of the 81% fee increase being passed by the Regents.

We are in the midst of a global upheaval, and it is time for this body to take a stand. As Camina Vallejo, the vice-president of the national student union in Chilé (which organized a nationwide general strike to protest for public education) said in an interview on January 16th, “We are here to question, fight and stop reproducing the system…the extinction of the student movement is not a possibility.”

Your power as an institution comes from being a STUDENT government, autonomous from administration and regents, and protesting budget cuts and tuition increases is in no way a conflict of interest. Quite the contrary, failure to protest budget cuts and tuition increases, which promise to harm the entirety of your constituency, is a sign of negligence, lack of responsibility and misplaced priorities. March First will happen with or without the involvement of the institutional power in this room. However, I urge you to use that power and take a stand for the students of UCSD. It is imperative for your future as student representatives and for the future of this university.

– Sean Estelle


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