Every year, all of the UCs meet in Pomona, California, in order to decide on what overall topic the student governments of each UC will focus on for the upcoming school year. This year, the meeting was held from August 3 to August 6.
Former President of the UC Student Association (UCSA), Ralph Washington Jr., gave one of his final speeches as president during dinner the first day, setting the tone for the rest of the conference. An entomologist, Washington incorporated a variety of bug analogies into his speech, making it both serious and humorous. The same day saw panels for ReIGNITE, and Securing a Sanctuary UC and State. ReIGNITE is a campaign on the “school-to-prison” pipeline, diversity on campus, as well as the challenges people of color face. The goal is to reduce prison sentences as well as create a UC bill of rights to keep students safe and sure of their rights. Securing Sanctuary UC and State’s goal is to create a safe haven for students and communities of color from violence and police brutality.
The second day was a day of workshops and training, preparing students for the campaign(s) UCSA would focus on this academic year. The day ended with an optional strategy session for students interested in creating or refining a campaign to pitch the following day.
Keynote speakers and voting highlighted the third day, as Jonathan Stein, a civil rights attorney and former UC Student Regent, and Anthony Williams, a UC Berkeley Alumni and current UCLA graduate student, separately spoke at length on topics close to the hearts of all UC students. As the day neared it’s end, each UC withdrew to assigned rooms to debate which campaign would receive its vote. After much deliberation, UC Merced used its collective vote for 3D, Disabled and Differently Abled Demands, a campaign focusing on the rights of those that do not have the same capacity to function as everyone else. Following the campaign vote, the USCA board met to vote on the new board members for the 2017-2018 school year. Out of 3 UC Merced nominees, two for executive positions, one, Clara Medina Maya, was appointed Campus Climate Officer. UC Merced’s voters on the Board of Directors (two for each UC) are Teresa Wachira, External Vice President of the Associated Students of the University of California Merced, and UC Merced Graduate Student Association External Vice President Jose Luis Susa Rincon.
Organizing Summits sometimes have a bit of chaos, but this got us on the right tracks for the year. The next meeting, to be held at UC Merced, will be held on October 7-8. The upcoming meeting will be the Council on Student Fees. One of its main goals is the implementation of a system wide referendum and to get students involved with fighting for UC problems.