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This article was updated on Nov. 26 to reflect several changes. The UCSC SUA was approached by the UAW to help organize student transportation to the Nov. 16 UC Board of Regents meeting, and did not fail to uphold a commitment to provide their own buses, as was previously reported.
UC Santa Cruz’s Student Union Assembly (SUA) has made strides in representing students on campus in the University of California Student Association and the United States Student Association. While City on a Hill Press applauds the efforts of SUA members, many of whom struggle in their positions with problems inherited from those who previously held their positions, it is important to pay attention to the actions of the representatives and ensure student money is being used responsibly and effectively.
Third-year Justin Riordan serves as Kresge parliamentarian, and on Oct. 31 submitted a report on the operations of the SUA. Riordan has found areas that seem like appropriate places for budget cuts.
In a letter to City on a Hill Press, Riordan said he presented an alternative budget to the SUA that had no cuts from conferences, save the Grassroots Legislative Conference (LegCon) in DC, and instead made up the cuts in Officer Programing.
“I did and do advocate for cutting from LegCon because of the expense per student required of this particular conference. Which was correctly identified as about $1000 per student,” he said. “These conferences are one of the direct and tangible things the SUA does for the Student Body and I encourage all student to apply to them, as they are open to all students and not just members of the SUA, [and] as they are amazing opportunities.”
Another aspect of the budget that has received much attention from the campus community has been the $5,000 used to purchase “B” parking permits for officers. Sources note there has been considerable opposition to ending the purchasing of the permits for officers, which are not guaranteed as compensation in the SUA’s documentation.
Without explanation, this kind of spending can be interpreted as a sign the representatives hold themselves above the students they represent. When the majority of UCSC students utilize campus and Metro buses to get around campus, such a large sum being spent on these permits seems unnecessary.
However, whether or not students agree with these decisions, it is important to stay informed — students should ask questions about where their money is being spent, and know the reasons purchases are made. It is important to note that the campus community must charge themselves with closely monitoring SUA representatives’ spending, and take action against projects they do not feel are in the best interest of the student body. In the current uncertain climate of the UC, it is more important now than ever that all students are communicating and working together to protect their right to their education.