CalGrants, Fees, and Resolutions

Sacramento, April 20: The Assembly Committee on Higher Education passed Assembly Bill 2447, pushing it forward to the California State Assembly for a vote. According to the bill’s author, Assemblymember Warren Furutani (D, Los Angeles)’s website, AB 2447 “matches [the] CalGrant award to the current standard of living by automatically increasing the CalGrant in an amount equal to any change in the Consumer Price Index.”

The bill, which garnered the support of the UC Student Assembly (UCSA), was amended shortly before being presented to the committee Tuesday. UCSA Legislative Director Clais Daniels-Edwards received a phone call from Furutani’s office just before noon (the committee convened at 1:30 p.m.) informing her that the language allowing for funding for campus-based fees had been eliminated.

Campus-based fees usually pay for services that were once provided by the state. Due to budget cuts, many programs have lost funding and students have introduced referenda to account for those losses.

Daniels-Edwards was disappointed by the amendment. Because campus-based fees are mandatory and often support very necessary services, she said CalGrants should help students pay for them.

“You shouldn’t not have wheel chair ramps or ethnic studies because there’s a budget deficit,” she said.

A few examples of campus-based fees include student service fees and campus child-care fees on many campuses, and mandatory health insurance on each of the 10 UC campuses. Some examples of campus-specific fees include an ethnic studies fee at UC Berkeley, an academic preparation fee at UC Santa Cruz, and a fee to support the Disabled Student Program (DSP) at UC Santa Barbara.

Student Government Censures Administration

Santa Cruz, April 20: The UC Santa Cruz Student Union Assembly voted to pass a “Resolution Censuring Collective Punishment and Guilt” drafted by vice chair of internal affairs Tiffany Loftin and vice chair of external affairs Víctor Sánchez.

The resolution censured the administration for having “bundled responsibility [of the Kerr hall occupation], merely dividing the $34,000 estimated damage costs amongst the 36 protesters, charging them collectively without grounds for providing evidence on an individual level to allow for independent due process.”

Sánchez said the goal of the resolution was simply to “demand a clearer explanation and a transparent process.”

Through the resolution, SUA resolved to “censure the collective punishment and guilt levied by the administration to the 36 students protestors … and … SUA will work to ensure a fair and transparent process so that our fellow students are afforded due process and clear evidence…”

View the full version of SUA’s resolution >>

The Future of Narrative Evals

Santa Cruz, April 23: The Academic Senate, a legislative body of UCSC faculty, will decide whether or not to make narrative evaluations optional for UC Santa Cruz instructors, Friday.

For most of UC Santa Cruz’s existence, narrative evaluations have been mandatory. Letter grades did not become mandatory until Fall 2001.

Concerns about the efficacy of narrative evaluations center around the faculty’s inability to come up with substantive assessments of individual students in large classes.

The Committee on Education Policy has endorsed the proposal to make narrative evaluations optional, however, SUA supports mandatory evaluations for smaller classes.

According to Matt Palm, SUA Commissioner of Academic Affairs, narrative evaluations are especially valuable coming from core course and seminar instructors.

Palm encourages students to attend the Academic Senate’s bi-quarterly session Friday, April 23.

“It’s going to be a very significant meeting for several reasons,” he said.

Palm said student presence could change the outcome of the meeting.

“Student presence at the meeting lets the faculty know what’s important to students,” he said.

The faculty’s stance on the 34 students sanctioned for the Kerr Hall occupation, and the Commission on the Future’s plan for the UC budget will also be up for discussion.

The Academic Senate will meet Friday, April 23 at 2:30 p.m. at Kresge Town Hall.