We are writing in response to last week’s article “ASUCR Senate: CALPIRG Referendum Cause Debate.” As ASUCR leaders and other student group leaders, there is no debate – we strongly support a YES VOTE on the CALPIRG Initiative.

CALPIRG was established in the 1970s as a way for students to press decision-makers to adopt public interest solutions to the biggest challenges of our day.  Today, Californians must grapple with the worst drought in California history, the erosion of our political system by special interest money, the devastating threat of climate change, and the increasing cost of higher education. On all of these issues and more, narrow special interests spend enormous resources to influence public decisions. The need for civic engagement, especially among our generation of college students, is more important than ever.

By combining the energy of UCR students with the expertise and continuity of a professional staff of advocates and organizers,CALPIRG is an important and credible voice to California opinion-leaders and decision-makers. The organization has been a force behind accomplishments such as the first statewide plastic bag ban in the country, the first global warming law in the country, and increasing federal financial aid $36 billion.

The ASUCR proposed to run a referendum this year to increase the ASUCR fee to restore CALPIRG’s democratic funding system. We wanted togive students the opportunity to make a community decision to fund the important civic engagement institution that CALPIRG is on campus. Unfortunately, the UC Office of the President is using flimsy reasoning to reject the ASUCR proposal, ultimately choosing to interpret their policies against students rights’ to vote to fund this group that advocates for us all.

We join together as student leaders across campus to call on all students to support a strong CALPIRG.  We support our rights as students to have control over our own activities fees, educational experience, and elections process, and we urge the UC Office of the President to let students vote on the CALPIRG fee.

We ask you to Vote Yes for CALPIRG in this week’s ASUCR elections.

Senator Jackie Jacoby

Senator Devin Plazo

Senator Summer Shafer

Parliamentarian Mohamed Hussein

Senator Reem Blaik

Outreach Director Jessica Urquidez

Senator Delaynie Koenig

Senator John Dell

GCAP Sustainability Coordinator Corey Willis

Vice President of Internal Affairs Fernando Echeverria