The USAC Office of the External Vice President works with various stakeholders at the local, state, and federal level to fight for the accessibility and quality of higher education. Although we primarily work on issues of affordability, the office also uses its resources to advocate for a wide range of policy issues that also affect postsecondary students.
This is achieved by creating and developing relationships with elected officials and their offices. We strive to be in constant communication with regional officials, and frequently invite them to participate in our own campus events and initiatives.
2017-2018 office campaigns are currently TBD.
2016-2017 Legislative Focuses:
We believe that unsustainable funding models have jeopardized students' ability to access quality mental health resources. Counseling services at many state universities are overbooked and understaffed, exacerbating mental health issues for the entire student population. Last year, the office worked hard to lobby for AB 2017, which would have created a grant program for campus mental health facilities. The bill passed both state legislature chambers, but was vetoed by Jerry Brown for fiscal reasons. This year, the External Vice President's office hopes to research alternative sources of funding for the proposed program.
Following the June 1, 2016 murder-suicide on campus, the External Vice President's office became alarmed by the lack of protocol and training for faculty and students. Although the probability of an active-shooter situation is low, we believe that universities should have a standard protocol for similar issues of campus safety. This year, the External Vice President's office is hoping to work with regional officials to develop some congruent type of safety policy for state schools.
The Regents are voting on a potential tuition hike in early January; this hike would increase tuition by 2.5% annually over a ten-year period. The office is working to redirect student frustration from the UC Board of Regents towards efforts to enacting CA Proposition 13 reform, thereby encouraging student involvement and proving to stakeholders that students are willing to come together and fight for college affordability.
Middle Income Affordability:
Middle income affordability provides Californians within the tripartite higher education model with the opportunity to continue the upward mobility that public schools have historically fostered. By gathering both UCLA student and administrative support, stakeholders can reform and enhance the existing California Middle Class Scholarship program to be more efficient in helping middle-income students afford in-state tuition.
By reaching out to stakeholders at federal, state, and local levels, the office’s environmental campaigns help promote sustainability on campus; specifically, in the areas of food waste and water/energy usage.
Gun Safety & Campus Violence:
Mass shootings are happening at such an alarming rate in the United States that Americans are desensitized to hearing about them and feel increasingly unsafe and helpless. In spite of this, no gun control legislation has been enacted, leaving people — particularly students — feeling disillusioned. The office hopes to place direct pressure on lawmakers to enact common sense gun control legislation in California and across the country as well as encourage other stakeholders to take a stand on the issue. Additionally, we will raise awareness about gun violence and counter the power and influence of the gun lobby.
Health is a fundamental human right. In order for the University of California to empower students to succeed academically, establish meaningful relationships, pursue passions wholeheartedly, and grow personally, it must provide access to and increase the quality of fundamental health services. Through lobbying efforts and campus collaboration with other organizations, we will advocate the health needs of all students across the UC by spreading public awareness and tackling legislative inefficiencies.
Hunger & Homelessness:
A university’s responsibility is to graduate students who are prepared to go out into the world and succeed; because of this, they should have a vested interest in our basic needs security. If the UC can ensure accessible, affordable food and housing, students can be best prepared to succeed on campus and beyond. By collaborating with existing campus organizations and leadership in the UC system, we can make students and faculty more aware of the issue of basic needs insecurity on campus, which can help us reduce the stigma around the issue and therefore give us more traction in working to solve it.
Advocacy for undocumented students matters because a more diverse, inclusive student body leads to a stronger economy and diverse workforce. The office hopes to work with other campus stakeholders to destigmatize immigrant stereotypes while improving access to resources for undocumented students.
International Student Issues:
International Students account for 12.5% of UCLA’s total student population, but the needs and concerns of international students have been largely neglected in the past. Therefore, the office wants to improve their experience at UCLA by taking their voice and projecting it to a higher level where change can be made on many things they care about such as job opportunities, better access to campus resources, and smoother transition to American society. This is mutually beneficial for domestic and international students as they both identify the stereotypes that hinder communication, cooperation and individual development.