F.I.R.E. has become IGNITE – Invest in Graduation Not Incarceration, Transform Education!
IGNITE aims to pass several bills and a senate constitutional amendment, and to urge the University of California Office of the President to allocate $10 million to student run recruitment and retention centers.
SB 649 (Leno) This bill would reduce prison population and stop the imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders by making possession of substances punishable either as a felony or a misdemeanor (“wobbler”)—giving more discretion to local judges. Currently the possession of certain controlled substances, even without intent to sell, is a felony punishable by 2 or 3 years.
AB 420 (Dickinson) This bill would reduce the school to prison pipeline by limiting suspensions and expulsions for “willful defiance.” Willful defiance is an overly broad and arbitrary rationale given for suspensions and expulsions that has led to disparities in suspensions and expulsions for students of color.
AB 218 (Dickinson) This bill would reduce the recidivism rate by “banning the box.” This would prohibit state or local agencies from asking an applicant to disclose information regarding a criminal conviction until after the applicant’s qualifications are determined.
The Constitutional Amendment -SCA 5 California’s Constitution currently prohibits the state from discriminating against—or granting preferential treatment to—any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. SCA 5 would eliminate this prohibition for public education.
Increasing funding for Recruitment and Retention Centers
UCSA is also fighting to increase funding for Recruitment and Retention Centers by acquiring $10 million dollars in unrestricted funds from the University of California Office of the President. Recruitment and Retention Centers on our UC campuses are student run and led organizations that visit traditionally underserved high schools and provide them with the resources necessary to pursue higher education. These centers also provide events to create community and increase retention amongst marginalized groups at UC campuses.