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Monday, November 29, 2021

Beyond the Budget holds town hall in response to funding cut

ZOË REINHARDT / AGGIE FILE

List of demands to be presented to Division of Student Affairs

Members of the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center and other university students gathered on the night of Jan. 22 at the LGBTQIA Resource Center to discuss funding cuts to student centers on campus. The meeting was part of a movement called Beyond the Budget, which began in response to the recent $77,000 budget cut to the CCC’s funding. Beyond the Budget is unaffiliated with the student center. The intention of the discussion was to compose a set of demands regarding funding cuts to all student centers and communities to be presented to the Division of Student Affairs.

“[We want] to give students a voice, address community needs, and hold admin accountable by drafting a list of demands including but not limited to #fundtheccc,” reads a graphic for the town hall that was posted in the Beyond the Budget Facebook group.

At the beginning of the meeting, leaders of the event presented a timeline showing the date of the cut and the subsequent student responses to it. They attributed unsubstantial student activism to a lack of transparency on the part of administrators. Additionally, they noted that the timing of the budget cut, in the spring of 2017, might have been intended to take advantage of student burnout that persists as summer approaches.

In response to the presentation, audience members proposed various ways to combat administrative actions that might prove detrimental to on campus organizations. One student postulated that if student centers operated solely on student fees, it would be more difficult for administrators to control the centers’ autonomy.

Another attendee hypothesized that administrators might be monitoring the students that check in to different organizations. They noted that when students swipe in before entering student centers, their attendance data is collected by the administration, which might be used to correlate quantitative characteristics such as GPA to certain organizations.

Others argued that changing the administration’s relationship with student organizations required more than delivering a set of complaints and requests to the Division of Student Affairs.

Some were hesitant to believe that a compromise between student communities and administrators could ever be reached. There was frustration expressed with the lack of clarity and justification for administrative actions that impact student centers.

One student brought up the short-lived Brown Bag Initiative, a free lunch program that distributed local produce to students in need. According to the student, administrators shut down the program without citing the specific reasons for the termination.

Toward the end of the meeting, the attendees drafted a list of demands. One demand asked that administrators give “clear qualifications for programs” to avoid unclear termination of student organizations, such as the Brown Bag Initiative. Another demand requested that administrators be more transparent about how the budget is distributed to university programs. Many demands revolve around student autonomy and the ability to make most, if not all, of the decisions relevant to student organizations and centers.

A survey was shared with meeting attendees as a way for students to share stories of how administrative decisions have negatively affected students or student organizations. It also gave students the chance to add to the list of demands to present to the Division of Student Affairs.

“Feel free to use this form to bring forth your demands or narratives regarding how you, as a student, have been affected by decisions made by administrators in higher education,” the survey description reads.

While the survey was only supposed to be live for 24 hours after the end of the town hall meeting, it can still be taken online.

Certain leaders and members of the Beyond the Budget movement planned to attend the ASUCD Senate meeting on Jan. 25.

“We are trying to pass a resolution of support for our demands and movement [and] need as many [folks] there as possible,” read a post in the event group on Facebook by Abigail Wang, a coordinator of the town hall.

 

Written by: Jacqueline Moore — campus@theaggie.org

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