During capitol visit, Berkeleyans make case for more support

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When UC Berkeley third-year student Varsha Sarveshwar met with state legislators in Sacramento on Monday, she had a clear message for the elected leaders.

“It is really important for the university that we see increased state investment,” the political science major, who is also the state affairs director for the ASUC’s Office of External Affairs, told them. “At the end of the day, if the state doesn’t come through for our students, we’re going to be paying with tuition.”

Sarveshwar described years of rising enrollment and state cutbacks that have left Berkeley students struggling to get into classes they need or to meet with advisers. Many buildings, she added, are in disrepair.

“This idea that the UC is bloated or has too much money is not something that rings true for any student on our campus,” she told the group. “It is not really a matter of how the UC is spending its money, it is that it is not getting the money it needs.”

Sarveshwar, who was joined by Chancellor Carol Christ and John A. Pérez, vice chair of the UC Board of Regents, met with nine legislators and an adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom. The group asked for increased financial support from the state and lobbied for a bond measure that will provide $4 billion to upgrade and retrofit buildings on the 10 UC campuses.

“I think it really helps folks in Sacramento to hear from people who are actually from the campuses, who can make concrete what is actually going on on these campuses,” said Sarveshwar. “It helps them understand why they should reinvest in our university.”

Contact Will Kane at willkane@berkeley.edu