This election, voters in California are faced with serious choices -- choices that leave young people's future on the line and carry a great deal of responsibility. Proposition 30 asks for basic funding of the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems, funds K-12 education, and supports police and firefighters. It ensures that all Californians pay their fair share. For college students, the outcome of Proposition 30 is very real; if it fails, the CSU and UC will each be hit with $250 million in devastating cuts.
As a student of the CSU, I was disturbed and deeply troubled to hear that billionaire and Southern California heiress, Molly Munger, has decided to launch negative television ads against Proposition 30. Munger is trying to push her own, self-funded initiative, Proposition 38, which asks for tax increases on everyone, even California's working poor, to provide limited education funding.
Proposition 38 does not allocate any funding to the CSU or UC systems and has failed to gain any traction in the polls or with the California political establishment. It is a deeply flawed initiative, as Darrell Steinberg, the president pro tempore of the state Senate put it in the San Francisco Chronicle,"Prop. 38 ... completely shuts out higher education of its new funding, virtually guaranteeing that fees will continue to rise and thousands of additional Californians will lose access to college education."
I am 21-years-old and a senior at San Francisco State University. From when I began college in 2009, I have seen class sizes expand, tuition rise and have watched our state government continue to balance the budget on the backs of students and our families. I know first hand that our public higher education system is at its breaking point. The struggle for affordable access to higher education at the CSU is not unlike the struggle K-12 schools are facing across the state, or the struggle my peers at the UC system face. If we are going to see change and reform of our education systems, we must work together.
Molly Munger's attacks are harmful to students like me, who are seeking to get an affordable education in our state. Students do not want to be caught in the middle of bruised egos and the politics of a billionaire heiress. It is unfortunate that we are faced with such challenges brought on by a broken system of direct democracy, but we must fight back. Proposition 30 and the outcome of this election are vital to our future. College students cannot and will not stand on the sidelines. Molly Munger should stop her deceitful attacks on Proposition 30 immediately.
Paul Murre is the president of the California College Democrats and a senior majoring in Political Science at San Francisco State University.