ASUC leaders are rallying students to ride buses to Sacramento tomorrow morning (Wed., Nov. 16) for a press conference and lobbying efforts at the state Capitol. Student leaders from UC Davis will join members of UC Berkeley’s ASUC, said Joey Freeman, ASUC external affairs vice president, who also is seeking participation from UC Berkeley campus administrators and from students at other UC campuses.
“When we found out the (Wednesday) Regents’ meeting was canceled, we weren’t about to let that stop us from our own efforts to protect higher education,” said Freeman. “Throughout this whole year, we in the ASUC have been trying to refocus the conversation to Sacramento, to help students understand that the core of the problem is not enough revenue from the state…Until we have more revenue, there is no solution other than budget cuts and tuition increases. We thought this would be a powerful way of conveying that message and letting the legislature know it’s time to reinvest in higher education.”
Freeman added that recent events at UC Berkeley, including the Nov. 9 Day of Action and the Occupy Cal movement, have prompted an overwhelming number of students to contact the ASUC about ways to get involved in helping to bring attention to California’s economic crisis and its impact on higher education.
“There is no more concrete action than being present and heard in Sacramento,” Freeman wrote to the campus community in an email letter today.
Freeman said students wishing to go to Sacramento should link to this website to reserve a seat as soon as possible on one of the buses. The ASUC is funding two buses, and the campus will be funding up to two more, he said. Each holds 50 passengers and will be departing from the corner of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue at 8 a.m. The buses will return to campus at about 1:30 p.m.
The press conference will be at 10:30 a.m. at the state Capitol, but the exact location has not yet been determined. Freeman, Student Regent Alfredo Mireles Jr., Student Regent Designate Jonathan Stein, ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Julia Joung and ASUCD (UC Davis) President Adam Thongsavat are among the students participating in the news event. UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer also plans to ride with students on the bus to Sacramento.
Freeman said that in addition to the press conference, students will be walking through the halls of the Capitol, asking to talk with legislators and leaving handouts to “let them know we expect them to vote for a budget with no additional cuts to higher education.”