The University of California Student Association (UCSA) wants UC Davis. Their executive director, Matt Haney, said that having every UC campus as members of UCSA except UC Davis presents a fundamental problem, as the public takes UCSA’s opinion as that of all UC students.
But, UC Davis disassociated itself from UCSA in 2006 for a reason. UCSA costs a minimum of $32,050 per year at $1.30 per student annually. UCSA “expects” a contribution of $1.50 per student, according to its website. This would put the cost up to $37,000, and that’s only for undergraduates. This expense is unnecessary given the existence of ASUCD’s Lobby Corps.
Lobby Corps currently runs on a budget of $28,577. The unit goes to the capitol and advocates for students, as does UCSA. But the advantage to Lobby Corps – other than its friendly price tag – is that it can advocate specifically for UC Davis students. As a result, it can represent us far better than UCSA can.
Furthermore, Lobby Corps offers UC Davis students a chance to become politically active and receive actual lobbying experience – UCSA employs one full-time lobbyist in Sacramento.
So far, ASUCD is playing its cards right by opening up communication with UCSA without committing to rejoin. UC Davis students can only benefit from having student leaders across the UC system understand one another.
It is possible for ASUCD to rejoin UCSA and keep its Lobby Corps. That way, UC Davis students could be represented in every way. However, this would cost over $70,000 per year, and the money to pay for the UCSA membership would have to be taken from other ASUCD units. There just isn’t that kind of money to spare in the budget.
And let’s face it. Undergraduate residents paid $9,496 to attend UC Davis in 2008-2009. Next year, tuition is estimated to be $14,055.36. Meanwhile, programs have been cut and faculty and staff have been laid off. The university is suffering, and while the student voice is important, how effective could any student lobbying organization possibly be?