After a 13-year fight for long-term funding, Engaging Education (e2) convinced Chancellor George Blumenthal to add e2 as an ongoing line item in the budget beginning fall 2019.
“We are demanding permanent funding for the Student-Initiated Outreach yield programs that bring an average of 60 percent of students to campus from the [African, Black and Caribbean] ABC, Pilipinx, and Latinx communities,” said e2 chair and fourth-year Menard Mayo.
e2 creates programming that addresses issues surrounding retention and graduation that historically underresourced communities face in their pursuit of higher education. Since 2001, it has helped organize events like Student-Initiated Outreach (SIO) weekend, Rainbow Theater outreach and Joining Underrepresented Students Together In Collaborative Empowerment (JUSTICE).
The majority of e2’s funding comes from the Chancellor’s Match, which promises a certain amount of funding to campus programs based on the student fees they collect. In 2005, $1.00 in student fees collected by e2 was matched by $2.00 in university funding. According to Mayo, Chancellor’s Match funding was gradually reduced, and e2 now receives $1.25 in university funding for every $1.00 in student fees. e2 must renew its Chancellor’s Match funding every two years.
Tired of the recurring battle for funding, they set out to be added to the campus budget at the beginning of the 2018 academic year.
e2 members sat through over 15 board meetings — each lasting over four hours — throughout the year, staged a peaceful study-in outside Kerr Hall and garnered support from organizations around campus.
While some faculty and staff supported the movement, many e2 members felt unsupported by administration.
“I feel like some admin and staff did [support the funding request]. We received public support in the form of an endorsement from the Council of Provosts, Academic Council, Latin American and Latino studies, community studies and a few more,” said e2 Outreach Collective Board of Directors member Gabriela Hernandez. “However, […] as far as this administration as a whole, it saddens me to say that they have been hesitant.”
Blumenthal plans to convey to Chancellor-designate Cynthia Larive the value the long-standing relationship the Chancellor’s Office has with Engaging Education and its commitment to diversity and inclusion, said UCSC director of news and media relations Scott Hernandez-Jason.
As an ongoing line item in the budget, e2’s funding will be subject to review at the time of budgetary challenges.
“[Permanent funding] will help students continue to do the work that gives all students — especially those that need it the most — their best chance at higher education,” Hernandez said. “It will help the students to support their fellow students in a way that the admin has never been as successful in doing.”