The Young Democratic Socialists of America at the University of California Santa Barbara are demanding the school pay all students $900 from federal COVID-19 relief funds.
According to the Daily Nexus, about 40 students and “community organizers” gathered Monday at Chancellor Henry Yang’s residence where they gave speeches and scribbled chalkings such as “$900 now,” “Power to the Students” and “Eat my Ass Yang.”
In 2020 and 2021, UCSB received over $60 million combined, of which approximately $26 million went to students directly.
YDSA Chair Taylor Clark noted that not every student received cash from the previous COVID package, while YDSA Secretary Patrick Fairbanks said “We think that the students know what’s best for them with money in their own pocket.
“They know what they need, and the school doesn’t and [the school has] proven that they are failing in their leadership.”
Fairbanks added the YDSA wants to know how the university will allocate the remaining funds, information which hasn’t been released to the public yet. “But they won’t do that. They won’t even talk to us,” he said.
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According to Clark, the university responded to the YDSA’s demand on May 7 — the night before the march — to tell the student group that they couldn’t afford to offer COVID-19 relief checks and needed the money to “balance the budget,” a claim Clark that found “absurd.” …
Asha Bosworth-Ahmet, a first-year environmental studies major, said she attended the march to show the university that student voices matter.
“COVID has affected so many people in so many different ways; at the university, we pay so much for tuition already … the students deserve some support from their university. There’s a lack of trust right now without it,” Bosworth-Ahmet said.
“$900 can go a long way for a lot of different people….it kind of feels like, as students, we’re just the university’s income. With $900 back to students, they can kind of break that really weird transactional relationship they have with us,” Bosworth-Ahmet continued. “I think it will mean a lot to students symbolically, and it will mean a lot on a literal level as well.”
As reported by KEYT, the university responded with a statement claiming it has “experienced increased costs and significant revenue losses associated with the pandemic” which “far exceed the additional support” from the federal government.
It noted some of the “most significant added costs” such as “COVID-19 testing to all students living on and off campus in the surrounding area” and “quarantine/isolation housing to [UCSB] students” (all at no charge), and “costs associated with transitioning to and enhancing our remote instruction.”
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