The UC Student Association’s march to the capitol is both a symbolic event and meant to please the students. At least four regents, the student regent-designate and UC President Mark Yudof expressed interest in attending the march.
Although we are glad to have regent presence alongside students, we think they should use the march for something more substantial than making the evening news.
Student Regent-Designate Jesse Cheng admitted that regent presence is a publicity stunt but said it is necessary in order to bring more attention to the cause. Media coverage increases awareness, and more attention to the issue will increase pressure to act for change.
Making the regents more visible and accessible to the public is a positive move, given the debate surrounding their actions. Unification of administration and students is valuable to promote student interest.
Although the regents’ presence is a new step, the Mar. 1 collaboration could be more effective. The regents’ efforts could be more productive if they bring tangible solutions beyond just asking the state for more money. They can then present them at the march instead of simply showing up to make an appearance. This collaboration can be used to help the public gain understanding of the regents’ jobs and recent decisions surrounding the fee increase.
The regents can propose changes of the system to the legislature in order to prove they are willing to compromise if the state will as well. The regents need to make legislators understand money allocated will be spent responsibly.
The philosophy behind the march – unification – sends the right message, but mere media attention doesn’t solve any problems. A purpose that is further defined would be more effective and provide a stronger foundation for future actions.
Students and regents can cooperate in establishing clear expectations for Sacramento’s policymakers and ways in which the current situation can be improved. The regents are not always willing to make a special trip to Sacramento, so why not create an event with more substance?
A more developed alliance will showcase a thoughtful, actively participating student body.