UCLA students pay $2M+ per year in 'social justice' fees
The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) charges students a quarterly “Social Justice” fee that provides more than $2 million annually for social justice efforts.
As result of the “Social Justice Referendum” (SJR) that was narrowly approved in a May 2016 referendum—54 percent to 45 percent—UCLA students are required to pay $24.99 per academic quarter to fund efforts like “Social Justice Camps,” “LGBTQ Programming,” “Cultural and Spiritual Programming,” and more.
"While the funds are allocated in part through students' vote, students are only voting for an ambiguous and general category rather than a specific use of the funds."
As of Fall 2017, UCLA reports that it had 31,002 undergraduate students, meaning the fee generates roughly $2.3 million each year, excluding the summer quarter, when fewer students are actively enrolled in classes.
The students organizing the SJR, however, faced difficulties during their campaign, and exceeded their $750 campaign spending limit by about $6,650, according to The Daily Bruin.
The referendum stipulates that the fee go towards promoting “social justice efforts, including programs and services that further community service involvement, college preparation, student health and retention efforts, and cultural, spiritual, and LGBT events.”
The fee also provides funding for student scholarships and financial aid.
Thea Dunlevie, president of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at UCLA, told Campus Reform that she does not support the social justice fee, arguing that its purpose is not clearly defined.
“While the funds are allocated in part through students' vote, students are only voting for an ambiguous and general category rather than a specific use of the funds,” she noted.
“Feeding hungry students or providing childcare sound like worthwhile projects, but ‘Community Activities Committee’ (where much of the funds go) means nothing tangible,” Dunlevie added. “Why is the majority of funding going to programming but not to those with immediate needs like hunger or having no one to watch their child while they attend class? The priorities of this proposal seem warped.”
In addition, she pointed out that students are already financially burdened, saying the fee only adds to that difficulty.
“Education is already expensive enough,” she said. “It's not so much that $25 per quarter is an outrageous amount of money but the insufficient demonstration of how these funds are being used makes the $75 a year just another transaction on my bank statement.”
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