UC Should Look to Local Communities for Funds

Dear Editor,

While I give my wholehearted support to my fellow students protesting the UC Regents increasing our fees without giving a damn about our opinions, I only agree with protesting the regents’ callousness, not the fee increases themselves. The regents have definitely turned to student fee increases without fairly considering the alternatives, but the real battle is over state funding.

I’ve heard many people talk about lobbying the government to fix the broken system and increase higher-education funding. Inevitably, what the government does is take money from the citizen and distribute that money however it sees fit. So why don’t we just cut the government out of the equation and go directly to our communities?

We need a massive public relations campaign to show the cities of each UC campus and this state how they benefit from us, and not just stop there and pray for favorable votes. We should create our own nonprofit organization to collect donations from the community to cover fee increases for those of us in danger of not being able to pay the new rate — people who aren’t rich enough for out-of-pocket payments or not “poor” enough to get need-based aid — because that’s who suffers most.

If half of San Diego’s adult population donated 50 cents annually, that would be around $550,000 every year (for chump change!). By no means would it cover everyone, but it’s worth it for just one more student who can continue calling UCSD his or her home. Of course, this isn’t a panacea: We still need to fight to stop the UC system from degrading our education while increasing fees, or else people won’t want to call UCSD their home, but it’s an idea.

For the record, I wouldn’t benefit from the program I propose. I’m too poor for fees to affect me (yet). I just want to help my peers who will suffer.

— Joseph Ocampo

Freshman, Marshall College

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