We, the students of Wheeler Commons and the Open UC at Berkeley, are pleased to see the proposal of SB15 in the California State Senate. Though the bill is not a blanket solution to the issue of funding public education, SB15 is an important starting point: it provides an alternative solution to the proposed tuition hikes and furthers conversation about creative approaches to funding this university. We can ensure that the quality of public education is maintained without sacrificing either access or affordability. One of the Open UC’s original demands was the elimination of these tuition hikes. We are now seeing mobilization at the state level to meet this demand. We are grateful to those representatives who have already spoken out against tuition hikes, and now call all state representatives to prioritize public education and reinvest in our university system. The proposal of SB15 proves that student voices matter, so let’s make them heard.
Increased state funding for the UC system is crucial to eliminating this latest round of tuition hikes, but the issues at stake are much more fundamental. The threats to public education are systemic, embodied in the power structures of this university. A comprehensive solution will need to consider the very meaning of public education and how those running this university are straying from that vision. As we see successes against tuition hikes, we must remind ourselves that the fight for public education is just beginning.