Students Concerned About Governor Brown’s Cuts to Higher Education

Brown-at-Bistro-33By Amani Rashid

Elected on November 2nd and inaugurated on January 1st, Governor Jerry Brown has recently managed to spark more debate amongst the students of UC Davis then the latest hook ups on Jersey Shore. Why all the fuss and commotion? Could it be the budget Brown proposed on Monday, or more specifically, could it be the $500 million dollars the UCs will be losing under his proposed budget?

“He cut so much, I knew cuts were inevitable but the repercussions of a slash like that are deep, this will cost students their education. We trusted him,” these were the passionate cries of Fidel Garcia, a third year psychology major, as he spoke of Brown’s “betrayal”.

A third year Sociology and Political Science double major, Rudy Ornelas, replied similarly: “I think he delivered a major blow to higher education, he said he would attempt to help but instead delivered more cuts; the state returned about $300 million to the UCs only to cut $500 million.” 

Vehement responses to the question “what do you think of Jerry Brown?” have become all too common among the students of UC Davis since the proposed budget was announced. When a group of third and fourth year students were asked for their thoughts on the matter they chimed in unison: “You’re breakin’ my balls Jerry!” turning the comical words of Cartmen from the TV series South Park into a summation of their true sentiment for the new governor.

Other students took the matter more seriously and gave alternatives to slashing the UCs budget. Matt Blair, a fourth year history major, believes that Brown has the right idea he is just looking in all the wrong places: “More cuts yes but not to higher education, instead to other more wasteful expenditures.”        

Although general consensus among students is the proposed cut to higher education is just outrageous, there are a handful of students that beg to differ.

Bob Smith, a fourth year Economics major, believes the UC’s budget should have received further cuts: “Nothing drastic like 50% but perhaps 25% as opposed to the proposed 20%.”

Smith justified his seemingly bizarre claim with logic overlooked by most college students. Smith argues: “If taxes don’t increase sufficiently, and there is a real chance they may not, then the budget for schooling from kindergarten through twelfth grade will be cut. I say cut more from the UCs for the sake of the children, after all what good is higher education if there is no lower one!”

A similar response was heard from Drake Fossum, a second year Biological Sciences major and the son of two elementary school teachers: “My mom says that every year the number of books available for her fourth graders progressively decreases. One year it’s one book for every 2 students the next it’s one for every 4 soon, it’ll be one textbook per class. I think we college students tend to forget that issues outside fee hikes exist.”

I have heard a bitter old man call our generation “selfish”; he said we should “stop whining about every penny” and “thank our lucky stars” that we are not being drafted to fight away from home.

Are students selfish for possessing such one dimensional outlooks on the proposed budget? Is it so wrong to worry about only that which affects you most?

Suzy Costa, a third year Political Science major would have to disagree: “My father told me the other day that cutting spending towards higher education should piss me off, he said it was ridiculous for students to fret about things like taxes when we don’t even holds careers yet; I think my dads right.”                 

On topics unrelated to budget cuts to the UCs, students seemed fairly pleased with Brown’s overall performance. “You know what I like about him; he keeps to his campaign promises,” was the generic response to the question “what do you most appreciated about Brown?”

Students are impressed Brown has thus far held true to some of his word. For example, the fact that taxes will not be raised without voter consent as promised has rendered students shocked and awed; “he’s doing what he said he was going to do, an almost impossible feat in world of politics,” stated Smith with conviction.

He also praised Brown for being “forward” and “honest” with his budget proposal. Jeff Wilkson, a first year Civil Engineer major revered Brown for taking unpopular but necessary measures: “Finally a politician who is not in denial about the critical state of our economy; nobody likes taxes and budget cuts but you know what I would like, to have a job out college!”

However, student outlooks on Brown’s actions as governor weren’t all Cheri and giggles.

Blair’s discontent was revealed when he stated: “With the economy still languishing under Obama now is hardly the time to speak of higher taxes, especially in the most overtaxed state in the union.”

Student reviews of Brown were an interesting collage of positive and negative critiques some harsher than others; however one thing was certain, whether the man is favored thus far or not every student has their own unique perspective to bring to the table.

When Stacy Bradly, a second year Philosophy and English double major, responded she summed it up best: “I like and I don’t like what he has done thus far, just as I liked and didn’t like what Lincoln did. It goes against the nature of politics for any one person to fully agree with the words and actions of anyone else; all I know is it is my job as a voting American citizen to scrupulously assess those who make the decisions that dictate my life.”

Truer words have never been spoken, after all what fun is politics if there isn’t a little dissension to keep us on track.       

Amani Rashid is a second year UC Davis student who will be writing about UC Davis and student related issues for the Vanguard.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Phil Coleman

    Most people are aware of the definition of a fair tax. One that gets the other guy. Likewise with cuts in public services. We see it demonstrated here, with college students having a peculiar sense of entitlement in the name of education, their education.

    Meaningful public policy reform is a rare event and we might be witnessing one now. With our massive public debt, everybody’s ox is being gored. Everybody is going to suffer. We have reached a critical mass in every sector of public service where all advocates are shouting, and nobody is listening. Out of this chaos, we will see meaningful public funding reform. We will see it only because we have no other alternative.

    Hunker down, pay more taxes, learn to live with fewer services, and we’ll get through this. Nobody is going to like it and there will be much suffering. But collectively we’re becoming immune to self-absorbed demands for special considerations. Again, everybody’s ox is being gored.

  2. hpierce

    [quote]Hunker down, pay more taxes, learn to live with fewer services, and we’ll get through this. Nobody is going to like it and there will be much suffering. But collectively we’re becoming immune to self-absorbed demands for special considerations. Again, everybody’s ox is being gored. [/quote]True story.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    Glad to see students are paying attention to what is going on. These students are our future, will vote, and need to keep abreast of the issues of the day. I would like our young people to have a voice on the City Council or in the form of a Commission. Nice article…

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