ISLA VISTA, Calif. - Students at UC Santa Barbara announced they will be participating in a protest Saturday afternoon in favor of receiving money left over from the school's CARES and CRRSAA Act funds.
The protestors claimed the school received $22 million dollars from the federal funding. Now, members of the UCSB Young Democratic Socialists of America group are demanding students be distributed relief checks valuing $900 each from the remaining funds.
The protest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and end at 4 p.m. Students will be marching from Storke Tower to Chancellor Henry Yang's house.
Our newsroom reached out to UCSB for a response to these students' claims.
The school shared the following statement:
The CARES and CRRSAA funding has been instrumental in helping UC Santa Barbara continue to serve our students throughout this pandemic. UC Santa Barbara has distributed more than $25 million directly to students with demonstrated need, as each of the stimulus acts stipulates. We posted information about these distributions, in April 2020 and March 2021, on the Financial Aid website (CARES and CRRSAA). While not funded through stimulus funds, we have also continued to provide our students with support through the UCSB Food Security and Basic Needs Program, which has provided assistance to students during the pandemic through initiatives such as the food pantries, grocery vouchers, grocery delivery program, and meal plan scholarships.
Even with the additional support from these stimulus funds, our campus is facing significant budget shortfalls.
Our campus has experienced increased costs and significant revenue losses associated with the pandemic. Combined, these far exceed the additional support provided by the CARES and the CRSSAA acts — by more than $160 million since March 2020. Losses include a reduction of $21 million in State support for our campus for the current fiscal year.
Even with all these cuts and losses, one of our most important goals during the pandemic has been to protect the jobs of our staff, especially the most vulnerable in our community. Fortunately, we have been able to do that, as well as continue to meet our obligations to provide salary increases for our union represented staff. With the establishment of the pandemic relief fund, in addition to other budget-saving strategies, we were able to ensure our staff members remained employed and helped our campus operation, even as they struggled with childcare and other issues related to the pandemic.
A few of the most significant added costs associated with the pandemic include:
· Providing COVID-19 testing to all students living on and off campus in the surrounding area at no charge to them,
· Providing quarantine/isolation housing to our students at no charge to them,
· Creating two COVID-19 testing clinics,
· Establishing an on-campus CLIA-certified laboratory to reduce testing costs and speed up results,
· Covering costs associated with transitioning to and enhancing our remote instruction,
· Providing personal protection equipment to our students, staff and faculty who have been on campus during the pandemic.
Through prudent fiscal constraint and the support from CARES and the CRRSAA funds, we will continue to address the projected budget shortfalls associated with this pandemic. We are hopeful that the State of California will formalize its announcement to restore funding to the UC for the next fiscal year. But even with those restored funds, we will need to continue to find cost-saving efficiencies and explore new revenue opportunities to maintain a balanced budget.University of California Santa Barbara
We will have more on this protest tonight on NewsChannel 3-12 at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.