UCSA Petitions for Open Forum About Tuition Hike

The UC Student Association initiated a petition demanding that UC President Napolitano and Gov. Jerry Brown publicize their private meetings regarding the university and its budget.

“We call on you to come out of the shadows of the ‘committee of two’ by participating in a public forum regarding UC costs and funding this spring, to be hosted by the Associated Students at UC Davis,” the petition stated.

Since its conception on March 30, the petition has gained nearly 1,000 signatures. According to the SF Gate, UCSA hopes to collect at least 3,000 signatures and to present it to Napolitano and Brown at the next UC Board of Regents meeting in late May.

After the Regents approved a 5-percent annual tuition increase over the next five years last November, Napolitano said that the state would need to provide the University of California with an extra $220 million to halt the tuition hikes. Brown responded by offering $120 million with the condition that tuition stay flat. 

To resolve the financial disparity, both agreed to hold private meetings to discuss the matter. UCSA President Jefferson Kuoch-Seng argues that the Committee of Two’s lack of transparency is preventing UC students from being cognizant about their own futures. 

“With the Committee of Two’s creation, we haven’t heard very much from both parties, and their committee reports were lackluster,” Kuoch-Seng told the UCSD Guardian. “What the Committee of Two discusses is unknown and the fate of what is in store for the UC [system] is withheld to only President Napolitano and Gov. Brown.”

UC Davis students previously invited the two to meet for a public forum on their campus on April 1. Napolitano sent a letter on March 17 declining their invitation due to “previous commitments.”

Kuoch-Seng told the Guardian that they hope the petition will urge Napolitano and Brown into eventually holding a public forum.

“Since they both had prior commitments, they were unable to commit to our request,” Kuoch-Seng said. “We then sought out to make an effort to pressure, by using the petition to show how many individuals support the event, the two to commit to attending the event on a date that would work best.”

When the Guardian asked the UC Office of the President how Napolitano would respond to the petition, media specialist Shelly Meron stated that she had already declined UC Davis’ invitation. However, Meron referenced the March 17 letter, which Napolitano sent before the UCSA published their petition.