The University of California Student Association (UCSA) is a coalition of students and student governments that aims to provide a collective voice for all students through advocacy and direct action. UCSA participates in the shared governance of the University of California system, and seeks to advance higher education by empowering current and future students to advocate on their own behalf for the accessibility, affordability, and quality of the University of California system.
Throughout the 1960s, UC students developed a culture of organizing by engaging in the Free Speech, Civil Rights, and Anti-Vietnam War movements. Administrators, Regents, and elected officials responded any way they could to crack down on students’ freedom to organize.
In 1968, when Governor Ronald Reagan instituted the first “student fees” in a UC that was supposed to be free, students created the UC Student Lobby because they realized they needed a permanent organization to mobilize the student voice.
This would become UCSA.
Last year, UCSA fought back when the UC Regents proposed steep increases to student fees through
the “Tuition Stability Plan”. We called for an end to back-room budget deals and succeeded in
winning a two year undergraduate resident tuition freeze.
Through our UConsent efforts, we successfully got the UC to implement mandatory in-person training around consent and bystander intervention for all students, and we continue to advocate for staff and faculty training mandates as well. On the legislative side, we helped pass SB 967 establishing
the first-in-the-nation policy to require “affirmative consent” as standard in sexual assault investigations.
We also advocated for an increase of the Cal Grant B award maximum to $2,000, additional funding for the CA DREAM Loan Program to support AB 540 students, and bolstering of the Middle Class Scholarship to refine, but not threaten, its availability.
Through our work and partnership with stakeholders over the last few years, we mobilized the student vote to pass Prop 47 reducing non-serious drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, helped Fossil Free CA win a UC-wide divestment from the fossil fuel industry, and created the Higher Education Report Card (HERC) which holds legislators accountable for votes they cast that directly affect students.
We are hard at work to actualize student power and add to this list of victories in the coming year.