CALPIRG Calls for Senate Support of Lock-in Fee


Bailee Abell
Associated Students Beat Reporter

California Public Interest Research Group chapter chair Hannah Goold shared the organization’s goals for the upcoming year, including piloting a lock-in fee for the first time since 1991, at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Associated Students Senate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“We have been on campus for about 36 years,” said Goold. “And for the first 12 or so years that we were on campus, we were funded by a lock-in fee, as most of the other student groups are, but in 1991 we ran a very controversial campaign and were actually kicked off campus.”

According to Goold, because CALPIRG campaigned against pesticide companies in which the UC Regents were invested, the regents banned CALPIRG from the UCSB campus.

“The reason we got back on was through our pledge system, which as many of you can imagine, is very difficult to operate every single quarter, every year that we are here,” said Goold.

Goold stated that the CALPIRG statewide Board of Directors decided that UCSB would be the first campus to pilot a lock-in fee this spring.

“It is really important [to get the senate’s opinion] because we have seen opposition from the administration in the past,” said Goold. “We have seen opposition from the regents. We have seen opposition from UCOP before. So we just want to gauge the AS Senate here.”

Goold also stated that UCSA passed a resolution in support of CALPIRG’s lock-in fee statewide on Jan. 21.

Off-campus senator Cassie Mancini asked Goold to explain what differentiates CALPIRG from the Environmental Affairs Board, an AS organization dedicated to “protect, preserve and enhance the environment, principally at UCSB and its surrounding communities,” according to the EAB website.

“CALPIRG is not only a campus-wide group, we are also a statewide and national nonprofit,” said Goold. “We are more directed at campaigns that gauge public interest. […] We actually do more campaigns that are geared toward policy, rather than advocacy.”

In order to stay on campus, CALPIRG must meet a 20% threshold of pledges, donating $10 each quarter via BARC, and UCSB consistently exceeds the student pledge requirement, according to Goold. Because UCSB has the largest CALPIRG chapter—65 students—and the most supportive student body, the UCSB chapter of CALPIRG will be the first UC campus chapter to run for a lock-in fee again.

“A lot of what UCSA and AS does is operate campaigns for students,” said Goold. “But we operate campaigns that students care about on a statewide level, or a citywide level.”

This year, the lead campaign was “Santa Barbara GOES SOLAR,” in order to create legislation for Santa Barbara county to use 20% solar energy by 2020, according to a press release.

“We are working with the city council to get the city to implement more solar policies,” said Goold.

Additionally, the organization is hoping to partner with Davidson Library in order to obtain student access to less expensive, open-source textbooks. Other CALPIRG successful campaigns include the statewide ban on plastic bags—which was started by CALPIRG students at UCSB—as well as the Million Clean Cars campaign, which will “make it cheaper and easier for Californians to switch to clean cars and reduce their global warming impact,” according to the CALPIRG website. The Million Clean Cars campaign was passed by state legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

CALPIRG will be campaigning for a $3.46 lock-in fee for the upcoming spring elections in order to replace the pledging system. The money from the lock-in fee will be used to fund staff members, including one CALPIRG staff member that may be used as a resource for any student group on campus.