On Thursday night, California State Senator Leland Yee came to UCD to receive the "Legislator of the Year" award from ASUCD. During the course of his awards reception, we got a small glimpse as to why he received this award.
"I am honored to receive this award from UC Davis students. UC Davis students were essential in helping pass the Higher Education Governance Accountability Act. I look forward to continuing our work to improve educational opportunities for all, bring transparency to the institution's governance, and make UC affordable for all qualified students.”Derick Lennox, ASUCD Lobby Corps Director:
“Senator Yee is an ideal recipient for this award, not only for his leadership on pro-student legislation, but also for his willingness to partner with students in the state capital.”Specifically, SB 190 (Chapter 523) requires all executive compensation packages to be voted on in an open session of a subcommittee and the full board. The law also requires full disclosure of the compensation package with accompanying rationale, allows the public to comment on such action items, and makes public advisory group meetings that deal with compensation matters.
“The Legislature and the Governor sent a very clear message to the UC and CSU: it is time to end the culture of secrecy and arrogance. No longer should the students, faculty and staff – the backbone of our public universities – be left to bear the burden, while top execs live high on the hog. As a graduate of both the UC and CSU, I want to make sure our higher education systems succeed by investing in instruction, not creating a get-rich factory for executives. SB 190 brings much needed sunshine to executive compensation discussions, provide members of the media the democratic access they deserve, and help restore the public’s trust.”Senator Yee then severely criticized the discrepancy between the plush contracts of those who run UC with the continued soaking of students through tuition hikes.
"People at the top of UC are living high on the hog, while students are living hand to hand, mouth to mouth. Students are having to work more in order to pay their tuition. Students are working rather than studying, and then are also not able to participate in campus life.""We need to shed light on the secret backroom deals at UC."
"The battle is not over. There are workers on this campus who are denied the living wages and health care benefits they deserve. It is not right that there are some people on this campus who enjoy benefits and good salaries, while others don't."After his speech, people asked questions and made statements, including Lidia Uribe, a cook at Segundo, who told Senator Yee:
"Thank you for your support. We really need support because our work has been really hard and there is a lot of discrimination and racism. My co-workers and I want to be part of the University and the Union so we can receive the protection at our work that we need."Senator Yee indicated a willingness to take on Sodexho and outsourcing of UC Food Service jobs by cutting money to UC Davis--one of the few powers that the state legislature has.
This follows a lobbying effort last week from a group of concerned citizens went to Sacramento to lobby four legislators on behalf of the Sodexho Workers. These legislators included Senator Mike Machado, Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, Assemblyman Dave Jones, and Senator Darrell Steinberg.
They delivered a letter to those legislators which in conclusion read:
"We ask our elected officials to help us end this policy of discrimination by withholding public funds until UC Davis is in parity with the rest of the UC System."The Sodexho workers have a powerful ally in Sacramento who is willing to take the fight to them.
This follows on the heels of President Clinton on Tuesday night, agreeing to join the fight as well, supporting the efforts of outsourced Sodexho workers to become UC Employees.
---Doug Paul Davis reporting