Let your voice be heard
(The following op-ed, written by Chancellor Linda Katehi, was published in The California Aggie on Oct. 24.)
Four years ago, in the presidential election of 2008, the power of the youth vote helped make history.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, turnout among college-educated voters between the ages of 18 and 29 was 62 percent, an expression of one of the most important acts available to us as citizens in a democracy: voting in support of what we believe in.
This year, with the election just days away, we hear a great deal about diminished enthusiasm for voting. But no matter which candidate you prefer for the White House, I hope to see as many of our students as possible exercise their legal right to vote.
You have worked hard to attend UC Davis and pursue an excellent education and college experience that will equip you with the skills needed to make a difference in your life, your communities and your nation. As part of that experience, it is important that you be informed about the ballot and its consequences, cast your vote and let your voice be heard.
In addition to choices for the presidency, Congress and a variety of state and local offices, the November ballot in California is filled with propositions that will affect all of us in myriad direct ways.
For instance, Proposition 30, which calls for a temporary increase in the state sales tax and income taxes on high earners, could determine if higher education in California loses another $500 million in state funding. If the measure fails, it will likely result in tuition increases and further cuts to higher education programs and personnel.
Other measures on the ballot would
- Require labels on genetically modified food – Proposition 37
- Abolish the death penalty – Proposition 34
- Amend California’s three-strikes law – Proposition 36
- Change how auto insurance is priced – Proposition 33
- Increase taxes for K-12 education – Proposition 38
- Regulate labor and corporate campaign contributions – Proposition 32
- Increase penalties for human trafficking – Proposition 35
- Change how taxes are calculated for multi-state businesses – Proposition 39
Some of these are complex and require a careful reading to comprehend their true impact. But in a democracy like ours, we all have a responsibility to inform ourselves on the issues and understand the consequences of our votes.
Our commitment to students
As chancellor, I want to assure all of you that no matter how the election turns out, our campus will set priorities when it comes to budgeting and funding decisions that reaffirm our commitment to you, your education and your overall success and wellbeing.
Educating you is why this university exists. It is the reason UC Davis was created more than 100 years ago. It remains our core mission a century later, and it will drive our actions now and in the future as a public-research and land-grant university.