Students rally in support of a Student Success Services Hub

May 11, 2020

By Michael Sim  

Election runs through May 20th.

Starting on May 11, for ten days, UC Santa Cruz students will have the opportunity to make their student voices heard during the 2020 Campus Elections

Letting our voices be heard

“(Voting) is one of the most powerful ways that students can shape the experience of current and future students of the university,” says Brian Arao, associate dean of students and chief of staff.

2020 will be Arao’s second year facilitating UC Santa Cruz’s consolidated campus election as campus elections commissioner. Arao works with multiple parties such as the Student Union Assembly (SUA) elections commision and Graduate Student Association (GSA) leaders to run the campus election. Everyone works together to craft an overall timeline for the year and determines when voting dates are going to be. 

Arao also communicates with Institutional Research, Assessment, and Policy Studies (IRAPS) who puts together the ballot and meets with the chancellor and UC Office of the President (UCOP) to discuss any fee referenda that students want to pass.

A consolidated campus election is identified by having multiple topics voted on at the same time on a single ballot once a year. Arao believes this policy reflects the campus philosophy about elections.

“We see (a consolidated election) as being the best way to assure strong voter participation in these decisions that have an impact on both current and future students,” said Arao in a recent interview.

Longstanding change by and for students

Students have the opportunity to vote on officers for SUA and GSA, SUA constitutional amendments, fee referenda, and opinion polls. Fee referenda in particular give students the ability to influence what services will be available for the slugs ahead of them and how much they will cost.

In 2003, Measure 7 was passed by students and enacted a UC Santa Cruz student programs fee to provide supplemental funding for student organizations and student life groups such as the Resource Centers, Student Organization Advising and Resources (SOAR) and many more.

During the 1999 campus elections,
Measure D was passed and provides free and anonymous testing through the HIV Peer Test Counseling Program which continues to benefit students today through Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP).

UC Santa Cruz’s campus elections webpage features a full list of all enacted referenda fees with information on which fees are currently active and what they support.

The process for putting a fee referenda forward as a ballot measure begins years before in the planning. The referenda, once finalized, go through review and approval. This review process starts in fall quarter. This past November, interested referendum authors were provided information sessions on how to write their fees. By early December, fee drafts are given multiple rounds of review by the local legal counsel, financial affairs team and the UC Office of the President to make sure the language is compliant with state, county, and federal laws and university policies.

After review, it is up to the authors to find sponsorship from undergraduate and graduate students.

Three years in the making 

One of the referenda students will be voting on during this year’s campus elections is Measure 75, which aims to establish a Student Success Services Hub as part of the Kresge College renewal project.

The campaign for this type of space began during the 2018 campus elections. An opinion poll question that year indicated that 55.20% of voters would vote “Yes” to supporting a student fee of $18-$25 per student to create a Student Success Services Hub at Kresge College.¹

In 2019, the Student Success Hub Facility Fee made it into the ballot as Measure 72. In order for any ballot measure to pass, 25% of eligible students must vote on the measure and at least two-thirds of those votes must be, “Yes.”

photo and quote from Ryan Hardin in support of Measure 75
One of many social media posts from
@slugsforhub on Instagram featuring students
quotes supporting Measure 75. 

The Measure 75 student team has been hard at work campaigning to raise awareness about the measure. This intensified as COVID-19 forced campus closures and remote instruction.

“It’s been really fulfilling. So many people are in support of this measure that I had no clue,” says Ryan Hardin.

Hardin is a fourth year transfer student double majoring in psychology and sociology and is a Chancellor's Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP) intern for The Cove, one of the services that would find a permanent space on campus if Measure 75 is approved.


Hardin played a role in the push for a Student Success Services Hub last year under the title of Measure 72. 35% of the student population voted on the measure with 57.02% voting, “Yes.”²  Not quite enough votes to pass, but close. Hardin attributes the near success of Measure 72 to the student team who outreached through posting fliers around campus and tabling.

As part of this year’s student team for Measure 75, he along with Liam Cox (fourth year, transfer student, psychology major) and Mia Boak have been giving presentations in-person since early March to the College Senates, SUA, GSA and the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC), all of whom responded with support for the measure.

In response to shelter-in-place guidelines, the student team has adapted their campaigning by taking it online. Since late April, they have been producing videos, student photos with quotes, and infographics about Measure 75 that are being posted across Instagram and Facebook.

“This year, we want to focus on creating a network of organizations,” says Cox. Cox and Hardin participated in the spring 2020 campus elections forum on Zoom and have been in dialogue with Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE), Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS) and other organizations who would directly benefit if the measure passes.

Heading into the ten day voting period, the student team plans to continue raising awareness for the measure by continuing social media and email outreach, as well as live Q&A’s on Instagram.

A neighborhood of services

Passing Measure 75 would establish a home for Basic Needs, recovery, counseling and case management services on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

“These are really essential services. We’re trying to protect these things from being taken away forever,” says Cox. “If they’re gone in the future, that means meals out of people’s mouths or one less therapy session.”

Currently, The Cove, some of the food pantries on campus, and Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) therapists are located in temporary spaces. Given that over half of the student body used the services that would be located at the future Student Success Services Hub over the last year, “the demand outgrew our infrastructure a long time ago,” says Cox.

“The Cove literally saved my life,” says Hardin. “I would not be who I am today without The Cove. It allowed me to heal in ways I couldn’t have done anywhere else.”

Addressing concerns about the current coronavirus and remote learning environment, if passed, the student success hub fee would not be enacted until the Kresge rebuild is complete and resources start being offered. The student team has been making it clear to the organizations they have been talking to, such as the graduate students, that they want to move forward together with them in regards to fees which can be seen in GSA’s sponsorship of the measure.

“For the amount of three Chipotle burritos, you’re getting a food pantry that wouldn’t go away, another health educator, etc,” says Hardin. “Someone can have food for the week!”



Promises for the future

“The future’s really uncertain right, but I think that by voting it can take a little stress off the future,” says Hardin. “When you vote, that’s a promise for the future and other slugs’ futures. Voting is one of many ways for us to come together as a community of slugs and show up for our fellow students in need, especially right now.”

“What we really want to do above anything else is make people aware of this measure. Any decision is 100% ok,” Cox adds. “We want as many people to seize this opportunity to express their opinion as possible.”

Almost all of the fees that are enacted now are because of students that have already graduated. “Especially given the rising cost of higher education, having students weigh in whether fees should happen or not is really important,” says Arao. “This is one of the most powerful ways that students can shape the experience of current and future students of the university.”

The 2020 campus elections will take place electronically between Monday, May 11 through Wednesday, May 20, 2020. To vote, visit and click on the ballot link at the top of the page that applies to you.


¹ Campus Elections Archive,

² Campus Elections Archive,

See Also