A campus teach-in last night yielded two hours of discussion on the university’s ongoing budget crisis, with students, faculty and staff speaking out against systemwide budget cuts, student fee increases and furloughs.
With over 200 people in attendance, the event packed the seats and aisles of Center 119.
“I didn’t come here with a speech in mind, but I felt kind of inspired by how many people were in the room,” fourth year Coral Castillo said.
Communications professor Brian Goldfarb spoke first, presenting a slideshow detailing his predictions for how the budget cuts will effect UCSD. Goldfarb expects to see a reduction in library hours and resources, an decrease in the length of the academic year, larger class sizes and wait lists, fewer choices in classes and less faculty interaction with students.
Goldfarb also warned that budget reductions will soon lead to a drop in the number of students admitted to the university. UCSD’s admission rate alone has decreased 10 percent from last year’s numbers. This also means an increase in the percent of out-of-state admissions, which means fewer California high school seniors getting admitted to UCSD, other UC s and CSUs.
“Basically, you’re going to be paying more for an education that is less-than,” said Carolan Buckmaster, president of the Union of Professional and Technical Employees San Diego chapter.
Sociology professor Isaac Martin said part of California’s budget problem lies in the state’s constitution, which requires a two-thirds vote in each house to pass any tax increase.
“This means that if there is a hardcore majority of anti-tax people they can block any tax increase they want,” Martin said.
Martin also said that California’s reluctance to tax real estate forces the state to draw revenue from less reliable sources, like income tax, which fluctuates with the economy.
“Property tax revenues cannot increase more than 2 percent per year,” Martin said. “Compare that with the fact that student fees can increase 32 percent in over two years.”
Carolan Buckmaster spoke about the effect of the cuts on staff in particular, claiming that the decisions made by the UC Board of Regents undermine union power.
“We can do all these teach-ins as we want to,” Buckmaster said. “We need a step three and we need to make it a loud one.”
Literature professor Dennis Childs said the budget cuts may ultimately lead to less diversity among students. He also said the university is slowly losing faculty members to furloughs and salary cuts.
“Hopefully I won’t have to go elsewhere to get an adequate paycheck for me and my family,” he said.
Three fourth-year students from the Saving UCSD Coalition addressed the audience next. Revelle College senior Sam Jung said the American dream is now almost impossible to achieve. The cuts have widespread impacts and are affecting all college students – not just those at UCSD, Jung said.
Political science major Coral Castillo discussed her increasingly difficult financial situation. As a freshman, her Cal Grant of $7,000 covered her $6,000 tuition. Castillo said that as a result of budget cuts, her grant was cut, leaving her an estimated $30,000 in debt by the time she graduates in June.
“College is no longer affordable,” Castillo said.
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