Unit Increase: ‘Say What’?
by Tracy Bueno

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When it comes to academics, the total number of units are really important in order to graduate. Think about the average number of classes taken every quarter. Now, because of the Minimum Cumulative Progress policy, it’s become much more difficult for students here at UCSB.

I attended the A.S. Town Hall Meeting November 20th held at Corwin Pavilion, and the topic of the evening was the 15 Unit Increase that’s set in place for next year. At first, I thought there would be lots of interested students coming to this event since their academics are being jeopardized, but perhaps students didn’t get the memo or were just in a rush to spend time with their families for Thanksgiving. Anyways, those who did attend were better informed by the A.S. Executive Board and trust me, it seemed as if this was a shady deal that the Academic Senate Committee was trying to hide from students.

It’s like our government: if they want to make changes they know people will oppose of, they will try to hide it from the people. Then they will create lies so that the citizens will still trust them. Jeff Green, who spoke at the meeting, mentioned that UCSB should be a “democratic institution of students,” basically expressing our concerns into making this place better. But with this unit increase, it seems like the Academic Senate is controlling our University and pushing students aside. It’s like, “hello, we’re here!!!” Throughout the meeting, Executive Board members discussed how they were taken by surprise with this proposition and gave a full explanation of the unit increase. From what I understood, the FTE Conversion Taskforce Committee passed a proposition in June in which students should take an average of 15 units per quarter. Students that decide to take less than 15 units per quarter will have the summer to make up for it. In the end, students will be assessed every two quarters. This could possibly affect all students. Circumstances are even worse for incoming students, especially those who took courses beforehand such as Advanced Placement (AP) to prepare for college. News flash! It won’t even count, which means you have to start off fresh, just like everyone else, yet it will be accounted towards graduation. By imposing this increase assures more revenue for the university, meaning more funding for Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS), Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), and other services. With the increase of five percent that totals up to 10 million dollars lying in the hands of the UC Office of the President, what will that money be used for? No one knows for sure, except for Gene Lucas, who is in charge ocontrols the money and disbursement.

There are many questions raised regarding this issue: will more classes be offered once this policy is imposed? Hire more teachers? What about those who work two or more jobs aside from financial aid and have to pay tuition? Those with personal crisis who take time off and come back to resume their year? Think about students who have to balance work and attending hourly lectures. Trust me, I find it difficult to manage, since not only do I work on campus, but holding hours as the Public Relations Coordinator for Community Affairs Board (CAB) on a weekly basis, not to mention contributing to The Bottom Line with compiling issues together, and all while attending classes. It’s like Lauren Conrad working at Teen Vogue on The Hills, only if that were true!!! But it’s hard work, and taking more classes won’t solve the problem. What are they trying to do, beat us to death? Another thing that was important was how the Undergraduate Council sits on the Academic Senate and their only job is to provide input, but not vote on anything. Students are in every right to voice their opinion and not be silenced and what sucks is how there is a miscommunication between Associated Students and this FTE Conversion Taskforce Committee. We’re human beings too, you know.

At the end, each group got assigned to come up with ideas in tackling this issue, which included questions. Out came many ideas in how to get to the bottom of the issue: Who sits on this FTE Committee? Why wasn’t anyone informed about the matter once it was passed or even pre-approval? One group proposed forming a committee of students that is involved with the FTE Committee and getting more students to support the opposition. For me, the average should stay at 12 units because it’s enough to handle. So whoever is reading this, take action. Like the Britney song before she went bananas: do something. Find out more about the issue by going to the A.S. Office and talking to members of Associated Students Executive Board. There will be more meetings like this planned out throughout the year. Your academic future is at stake, so be aware.

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