Guest opinion

Third-year political science and history major
UC Regent Liaison

Nov. 6, 2012 was a great day for many reasons. Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington and gay marriage was legalized in Maine, Maryland and Washington. But in California we also have something to be proud of. Proposition 30, a temporary tax measure to fund education, including the University of California system, was comfortably passed with 54.3 percent of the vote.

Marijuana, marriage and making education a priority is not just a victory for Marxist stoners everywhere — it is a great victory for today’s youth. Students like you and I are not only the future of this nation, but we are greatly affecting the present. Across the state of California 380,000 people registered to vote for the first time — a large number skewed strongly toward the youth of the state.

This is a remarkable number for a group that is supposed to be apathetic, ignored, disorganized and busy taking handle pulls. At UC Davis alone, 4,391 students were registered to vote by fellow UC Davis students. Not only are Obama mammas registering this mostly progressive block, but students themselves are also taking the initiative.

Our initiative didn’t stop with registering people; it also took place at the ballot box. It is easy to argue that Proposition 30 passed because of the youth vote. Twenty-eight percent of ballots cast on Proposition 30 were [from people] between the ages of 18 and 29, a voting bloc that overwhelmingly supported the proposition with two-thirds in the affirmative.

A supermajority of students, a supermajority that could never be found in today’s congress, stood together in support of a proposition that would have us sacrifice a little more, especially those at the top, but in turn we would slow the privatization of the UC system, which many see as inevitable.

Proposition 30 proved that not only can the youth unite, not only can we stop playing Halo 4 for a few minutes, but the privatization of the UC is not inevitable. The Regents will not save us, they really do not care about students — they really don’t. They are mostly businessmen, bankers and lawyers whose sole purpose is to increase the UC’s ranking in the U.S. News and World Report magazine, even if that means raising tuition to Ivy League levels.

They do not care about student opinion or keeping the UC affordable for all students. If you protest this, you will be kicked out of the Regents’ meeting, which is pretty standard now. There is only one way to make them care, and to make the governor appoint regents that care, and that is through sheer force of the ballot box.

Many doubt us. They say we do not have the votes. They are wrong. We passed Proposition 30, we even helped pass gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana — issues that stood no chance a few years ago before our generation voted.

They say the regents will save us.

They are wrong.

They have raised tuition on us multiple times, proving themselves incapable of our trust and their Sacramento political friends that placed them there have done no better. It is time that we save ourselves; it is time for us to take control of the present and the future we will inherit.

If you didn’t vote in 2012, educate yourself and vote, if you did vote, tell your friends to do so, get involved, your participation has made history and will continue to make history. We can stop tuition increases and the privatization of the UC; it takes about the same amount of time as a bong rip.

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