Op-Ed: UCSB Alumni Advocate for Continued Membership in USSA


April 16th, 2014

As former Associated Students of the University of California Santa Barbara (ASUCSB) Presidents and officials, we write this letter to urge the Senate to vote no on the ‘Bill to Officially Withdraw ASUCSB Membership from the United States Student Association (04162014:81).’

As you well know, ASUCSB has always been at the forefront of championing important issues of access and affordability at the local, state, and federal levels.

Article II of the Constitution of the ASUCSB, section A affirms, “all students shall have the right to an affordable education.”

ASUCSB’s strong relationship with the United States Student Association (USSA) has facilitated students from UCSB to advocate on important issues of access and affordability at the federal level. This recent advocacy work includes the passage of the Student Aid Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) in 2010. SAFRA increased the maximum Pell Grant to $5,500 and ended subsidies to private loan companies, redirecting millions of dollars to direct loans. Throughout this process, ASUCSB worked with USSA’s Legislative Director Angela Peoples who personally knocked on every door in Congress to lobby on SAFRA.

The year after SAFRA was passed, 35% of UCSB received Federal Pell Grants and 49% of students borrowed student loans. If SAFRA had not passed, students who depended on Pell Grants would have seen them cut by 60%.

In 2012, USSA also fought and won the Don’t Double My Rate campaign keeping student interest rates from doubling to 6.8% from 3.4%.

In the spirit of progress and collective student activism ASUCSB has worked with the USSA to represent students at the federal level. We urge you to consider the long-term view of the student movement and the importance of ASUCSB remaining a member in the USSA.

Respectfully submitted,

Sophia Armen, President 2012-2013
Paul Rodriguez-Monge, President 2010-2011
Christine Byon, EVPSA 2007-2008
Lindsey Quock, EVPLA 2007-2008
Bill Shiebler, EVPSA & UCSA President 2006-2007
Chaz Ceola-Marie Whatley, President 2005-2006
Miguel Lopez, President 2003-2004
Felicia Cruz, EVPSA 2005-2006
Mahader Tesfi, President 2000-2001
Kristopher Kohler, EVPSA 1994-1995 & 1995-1996
Derrick Perez-Johnson, EVPSA 1992-1993
Rachel Doherty Smith, President 1991-1992