(From Press Release) The Graduate Student Association, which represents UC Davis’s 6,600 graduate students, last night endorsed Yes on Measure A, the campaign to approve the Nishi Gateway Innovation Center and significant investments into our city. The vote was a clear majority. The GSA’s vote to endorse Measure A follows the Associated Students of the University of California at Davis’s (ASUCD) unanimous embrace of the Nishi Gateway earlier this year.
“Graduate student housing has been a severe issue for a long time and we need any efforts to resolve it,” said Ralph Washington, President of the Graduate Student Association.
“With an additional projected 6,000 students over the next five years, grad students will continue to be a community disporportly negatively impacted by the Davis housing crisis,” said Jacqueline Barkoski GSA External Chair.
From the very beginning, the university was a close partner in developing what we now know as Yes on Measure A. Eight years of negotiations between the city, county, university, community partners, and the team behind Nishi ultimately resulted in a unanimous vote by the Davis City Council to place Measure A on the ballot.
The university’s Long Range Development Plan also incorporates the Nishi Gateway and improvements that would be advanced if voters approve Measure A, specifically the new undercrossing and bypass road linking Nishi with the campus. “The University and the City of Davis have been planning collaboratively and exploring possible roadway, bikeway, and open space connections with the Nishi property, in hopes of gaining mutual advantage to the vitality of the campus, downtown and the greater Davis community,” the university wrote.
If Davis voters approve Measure A, housing for 1,500 students will be constructed at an average rate of only $450 a month per student. 1,500 local jobs will also be created, many for students. Of particular importance to graduate students, Nishi’s 325,000 square feet of research and development space will attract cutting edge businesses, many of which began in the laboratories and classrooms at UC Davis. Nishi is designed to promote ‘tech transfer’, converting university research into commercially viable products, and many graduate students are part of this process.
Resolution Endorsing Measure A, Nishi Development Project and University-Related Research Park
Sponsors: Don Gibson, Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group, Jacqueline Barkoski, UCD GSA External Chair
WHEREAS, the UC Davis Graduate Student Association (UCD GSA) seeks to advocate on behalf current and future University of California Davis graduate student needs including, accessibility to campus, affordable housing, and economic opportunities; and
WHEREAS, advocacy and support of local measures which directly benefit University of California, Davis graduate students is critical to improve the standard of living; and
WHEREAS, the critical housing shortage in Davis has reached a vacancy rate of 0.2% causing rents to rise 10% annually over the last two years; and
WHEREAS, lack of quality affordable housing is a major driver lead the 20% of Masters students and 16% of PhD students live outside of the city of Davis which increases pollution, traffic, and harms integration of the student community; and
WHEREAS, Nishi Gateway Innovation Center is ranked as the #1 in sustainability goals in California by the Strategic Growth Council due to focus on walkability, biking, high density housing, and a mixed used district involving research park; and
WHEREAS, the Nishi Gateway project would receive a Gold LEED rating and all buildings of Nishi Gateway are certified at the LEED silver level or higher; and
WHEREAS, $23 million in funding from the passage of Measure A will lead to traffic abetment, addition of bike-car separated lines on Richards, creation of a new traffic bypass way from the Richards tunnel and improvement of Richards Boulevards and Olive Drive; and
WHEREAS, the addition of an innovation park would create research space for UCD graduate students to turn their research into startup companies in the city of Davis; and
WHEREAS, by 2020 a planned additional 5,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students will be attending UC Davis; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the UCD GSA endorses City of Davis – Measure A, Resolution NO. 16-014, Series 2016;
THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the UCD GSA External Chair and GSA Secretary will inform the UCD graduate student community before the election on the GSA position in support of Measure A; and
THERFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the UCD GSA Chair and GSA External Chair maintain a priority to advocate for additional housing in the long range plans at UC Davis, in the City of Davis, Yolo County, and in the state of California.