Political Mobilization

April
2003
Ian Walton, Chair

If you're a local senate president you should already be well aware of the student/voter mobilization project initiated by the Academic Senate President in the fall semester. You should have received a package of material in the mail, or perhaps electronically, that talked about the need for this project and that provided sample letters to distribute to faculty and students. You may also have received a follow-up phone call or email from one of the Local Senates Committee to ask if you had used any of the material. And you may have attended a breakout at the Fall Plenary Session where Hoke Simpson and Tom Nussbaum discussed the project with a select audience.

The original impetus for the project began last year at Fall 2001 Plenary Session when we were addressed by Brian Murphy on the history of the sixties higher education master plan and the inequitable funding system that resulted for community colleges. It intensified at the Occupational Leadership Seminar in Santa Cruz when in addition to the conventional wisdom that "community college students don't vote" a legislative aide made the comment that just ten phone calls to a local legislator will propel an issue to the top of their agenda. It was time to do something to engage our 1.6 million students.

The material you received at the end of September encouraged the registration of student voters for the November election and included an in-class and out-of class flyer on system funding issues. For many of you there wasn't enough time to get in gear before the election. But the project hasn't gone away. The next stage is to encourage faculty colleagues and students to regularly call their local legislator about community college issues (implement the ten phone call strategy). With the Governor's mid-year funding cuts, and his proposal to cut us by $530 million next year, now may be a good time for this ongoing strategy. Imagine if 1.6 million students were to tell their legislators that they would prefer a tax increase to cuts in community college funding.

The Relations with Local Senates Committee is currently working with the Academic Senate President to determine how best to bring you recommendations on current issues that you can easily funnel to colleagues and students. If you have suggestions about what would work best for you please let use know.

Current voter registration material is available on the Senate Website.

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