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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Guest: Vote “yes” on Proposition 13

Prop 13 will protect university students across the state from outdated infrastructure

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.

California’s university buildings are aging and pose a direct risk to the life and health of students and faculty at UCs and CSUs across our state. In March of 2020, Californians are going to be given the opportunity to vote on the College Health and Safety Bond. 

The bond, also known as Proposition 13 (unrelated to the infamous and often reviled Prop 13 dealing with property tax) will protect students from potential injuries as a result of aging buildings on campuses across the state. Nowhere is this measure more needed than at UC Davis.

In 2018, UC Davis administrators announced that Freeborn Hall would be demolished due to concerns over its seismic safety. 

The building, an institutional location for concerts and campus events for almost 60 years and home to vital student services such as The California Aggie and KDVS, was too costly to repair.

As sad as Freeborn’s demolition is to many of its current residents, it isn’t the only seismically unsafe building on campus. Out of the 317 buildings evaluated for seismic safety standards, 126 have been slated for demolition or already demolished, according to The Davis Enterprise

In recent years, everything from the Memorial Union to dorms in Segundo and Tercero have needed renovations to ensure that they don’t collapse in the event of an earthquake. But there are more reasons to renovate these outdated buildings than just earthquake safety.

In 2011, as students took their final exams in Wellman Hall, they found firefighters barging into their classes, evacuating them as a result of asbestos exposure in the ventilation system. In 2015, UC Davis employees reported that asbestos was released in Wellman and other campus buildings during renovations and repairs. 

Students are not only at risk of death in the case of an indefinite future earthquake, they are potentially being exposed to the airborne, cancer-causing products of our aging campus infrastructure. 

This comes alongside issues that most of us are all too familiar with: overcrowded classrooms forcing students to sit on the floor; crumbling walls and peeling paint; broken projectors, screens and lights in our lecture halls. 

We, as students, want the ability to learn in classrooms that account for our disabilities — in classrooms that don’t force us to sit on the floor and that allow our professors and teaching assistants to present lecture slides without struggling for 20 minutes before giving up and going back to the chalkboard. 

We are not demanding the world. We are demanding the basics of what we need to learn and study. 

This is why I, Adam Hatefi, and my office, on behalf of the UC Davis Undergraduate Student Body and as their official representatives, implore you to vote “yes” on Proposition 13 and to ask your friends, family and associates to do the same. 

Written by: Adam Hatefi 

Adam Hatefi is the external affairs vice president of ASUCD and a fourth-year political science, and science and technology studies double major at UC Davis. 


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