This weeks' journal 9/15
To start off this weekends review, we first must talk how bureaucratic the University of California are. I will focus on the inefficiency of the UCPath, UC Santa Cruz graduate strikes, and the reduction of financial aid for students.
Let us start with the UCPath, yes the same payroll system where Davis students marched towards Mrak Hall. Last year, UC Davis decided to change their payroll system that they previously had to a UCPath which was implemented in September. Even though this payroll system was meant to standardize the employee payroll process, it created a complicated process. However, the school did not take the issues that other schools like UCLA had into consideration. The UC Davis lost the ability to write a paycheck whenever there is an emergency.
This new and flawed system left students with months of incomplete or missing pay, which resulted in delayed rent payments, the inability to purchase food, pay off credit card bills, and other expenses. Instead of picking up your check, you would have to wait for your check to be mailed from Arizona. And if you wanted to receive a direct deposit, you would have to call the UCPath phone line and check if the bank account numbers are correct. Instead of having a complicated process, maybe the UC Path could have asked the individual to instead send their Bank information. But the UC decided to not do this. Sometime positive was that in January of 2020, the ASUCD passed a resolution on addressing the hardships that the UCShip left.
Sources: Davis Vanguard, The Daily Bruin, Sacramento Bee.
Santa Cruz Union Strikes
Another example of how the UC acts as a bureaucracy was the UC Santa Cruz grad students' strike. In 2018, the UC signed a collective bargain agreement with the Santa Cruz United Auto Workers chapter, which included academic and graduate student assistants. As this agreement passed, the graduate students voted against it because it did not include a cost of living adjustment (COLA) even though there is a high cost of living the Santa Cruz since it is a close proximity from Silicon Valley. The UCSC did not take the needs of the students into consideration, which showed their smugness towards these students.
As a result of their increased cost of living, many grad students engaged in a "strike" where they did not submit over 12,000 fall quarter grades for the undergraduate students. It was apparent that the UCSC Chancellor, Cynthia Larive, and Janet Napolitano did not support the needs of the grad students. They made it clear that they would terminate the students who participated in the protests. And they kept their word as UC Santa Cruz fired 54 graduate students, causing them to lose their healthcare benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic. Eventually, their healthcare benefits were reinstated. Even though Santa Cruz reinstated the graduate students, this situation would have not happened if they meet the needs of the students.
Sources: The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, The California Aggie.
Reduction of Financial Aid
A month before the 2020-2021 academic year, UC Davis decided to cut undergraduate financial aid packages for each student by thousands of dollars. Some students’ aid was cut as much as 85%, leaving them stranded in the middle of a pandemic. And the students were not notified of this decision which makes it seen that the university were not transparent. This decision has devastated not only low income students, but the entire student population.
Students have already been greatly disadvantaged by COVID-19. Since February, off-campus students residing in the Davis area were forced to continue paying for a lease they no longer required since the university had cancelled in person instruction. Thousands of students depended on the university as a source of income, but as on-campus activities were halted, many people lost their university jobs. So these students were counting on financial aid as a form of rent relief. The same day financial aid was cut, various students were also informed that they would no longer qualify for “work-study.” These students no longer qualify for their jobs and will be laid off.
As a result of the financial aid being taken away, there was an online petition organized by our club, a significant number of students received “repackaged” financial aid offers the last week of August that were considerably lower than the estimated offers they were given in March. Even though the UC Davis receive more money from the state and federal government, the UC Davis decided to raise the tuition prices and also decrease student aid. As the average base pay of UC chancellors is around $500,000, the UC schools decided to decrease financial aid. This is an example of how bureaucratic the UC system really is as they do not take the needs of the students into consideration. The UC is a microcosm of how the Federal government acts towards the people. Like the federal government, the U.C does not care about its students especially during a pandemic.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Davis Enterprise.
Written by Brandon Blanco (Political Chair)