In December 2013, a small group of UC Davis students drafted a proposal to build an on-campus resource center for the university’s Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) and undocumented student population, which has tripled to over 200 students in the last three years.
The movement was brought about in 2002, after former California governor Gray Davis passed AB 540, adding a new section to the California Education Code. The section specified “the exemption from non-resident tuition payment for some non-resident students who have received a California high school diploma or the equivalent.”
The number of AB 540 and undocumented students has been steadily increasing in the University of California (UC) system since the bill’s inception.
Today, 2,000 of the 240,000 UC students are undocumented, and UC President Janet Napolitano expects this number to grow after allocating 5 million dollars last October to fund additional resources.
After just ten months of planning, the university celebrated the power of student voice at the grand opening of the AB 540 and Undocumented Student Center in the Student Community Center on Oct. 21.
Given the stagnant system of university bureaucracy, the rapid process of student-led ideas manifesting into the physical creation of the center is highly commendable and shows how urgent the need was for this campus to have resources available to these students.
We believe that the greater student population is relatively unaware of the implications of AB 540; therefore, it is imperative for the center to prioritize outreach and awareness to the campus community.
In order to garner interest amongst the campus population, the center must reach out to other student resource departments, specifically ASUCD, to form connections with smaller student organizations.
Although ASUCD officials have said that their advocacy unit will collaborate with the center’s staff for further campus outreach and awareness, we hope that this plan is actually put into action and look forward to future outcomes.
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