Administration Finalizes Proposals for $3 Million Housing Assistance Fund

Allocation to provide allowances, support study

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The administration has decided what to do with the $3 million Band-Aid, which was provided by the UC Office of the President (UCOP) in July in hopes of alleviating housing stress. Last week, UCSC administration crafted a final proposal on how to spend that money and is now awaiting UCOP approval.

The proposed distribution of funds includes housing allowances for transfer and graduate students, increased funding for existing emergency student housing resources and financing for a study of low-income student housing off campus.

“[Administrators] decided to give most of it to students. I appreciate that, I just don’t like how the process was,” said Student Union Assembly (SUA) President Max Jimenez. “It was very unclear on how the decision was being made […] As much as I like that there’s money going into [housing services], it’s only a one-time allocation, so it’s not like it’s a long-term thing.”

Illustration by Lizzy Choi

The proposal suggested $2.25 million be allocated toward two housing allowance programs. The allowances, which can be spent on rent and housing-related expenses, provide $1 million for doctoral students and $1.25 million for transfer students. This focus on transfer and doctoral students is due to the UC mandate enrollment increases for those two groups, said Vice Provost of the Division of Student Success Jaye Padgett, who was one of the administrators in charge of drafting the final proposal.

The low-income student housing study, also included in the proposal, would follow low-income students’ searches for housing to evaluate and better inform campus practices. The study, titled “Low-Income Students’ Pathways to Securing Off-Campus Housing: Obstacles and Opportunities,” would receive $125,000 and be conducted by the UCSC Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise and Participatory Governance.

To draft this final proposal, UCSC administration reached out in early October to the Academic Senate, SUA, Graduate Student Association and leadership of the Staff Advisory Board, requesting 10 proposed items from each group for how the $3 million should be spent.

Each group was given a week to submit its proposal, which some said was not nearly enough time and that the process in general was ineffective.

SUA President Max Jimenez said neither she nor the SUA was initially approached by the administration for input on how to allocate funds. The SUA was only asked to submit proposals after Jimenez contacted Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp.

“I just really don’t appreciate how the chancellor and Jaye Padgett [and] whoever else was involved in this process keep saying the SUA was involved, because they did not come to us for anything,” Jimenez said.

Even administrators in charge of the situation were not given much control over the schedule. Herbie Lee, vice provost of academic affairs, said the process wasn’t ideal.

“The whole thing was very rushed, because we were given a timeline by [UCOP],” Lee said in regard to the three months UCSC was given to draft a proposal.

While some students and administrators are pleased with the $3 million allocation, others pointed out the money could have been used to meet the Black Student Union’s demand from spring 2017 for a low-income housing cooperative for historically disadvantaged students, which was one of the submitted student proposals.

Jimenez also said the one week the SUA leadership was given to gather and submit its proposal items was not enough. Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Herbie Lee said this timeline was universal among all the groups the administration reached out to and that it was a rushed procedure overall.

“We would have liked to have a much more extensive consultation process,” Lee said. “We don’t think this was a proper consultation process for anybody. Students, the [Academic] Senate or anybody, really.”

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Timothy Tsung is the videography editor at City on a Hill Press. Previously a reporter for the campus desk, he began making videos for the paper out of his love for broadcast and digital media. Raised in Palo Alto, he considers the Bay Area weather a necessity and wants to live there forever. When not filming, editing, or writing in the press center, he is likely indulging in his hobbies: eating great food and playing video games.