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University of California Group Demands $900 Relief for Students

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A student group at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) is demanding school officials distribute leftover federal funds by giving $900 to students.

The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), an association presently promoting a “COVID Justice Campaign,” claims that the university has yet to spend the $22 million remaining of the COVID-19 relief fund provided by the government.

In March 2020, the USCB received $25 million as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Eight months later, the school was given the same amount under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act.

“By law, half of these funds were mandated to be paid directly to students – UCSB did this, providing stimulus to a measly 56% of the student body. They spent $2 million on sanitation of a mostly empty campus last year, leaving $22 million remaining. We have asked repeatedly for documentation of how those funds will be spent, but the university refuses to respond to us,” YDSA Secretary Patrick Fairbanks said.

The group is planning to stage a rally on May 8 to express their frustration. Along with other organizations, it plans to march to Chancellor Yang’s on-campus home.

School Admin Urged to Consider YDSA’s Demand

The Daily Nexus, an independent student publication at UCSB, released a statement on May 4 claiming that a total of $10,649,652 of federal funds given to UCSB remains untouched since the pandemic began.

It supported the proposed $900 additional relief for students as vital assistance for a community that is economically beleaguered.

“The money could make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of students. For people like us, $900 could easily be the difference between making rent this month or living on the street, putting food on the table or skipping meals, paying tuition or going deeper into debt,” the publication said.

“Rolling the dice on our lives for the sake of balancing imaginary numbers on a spreadsheet somewhere is ludicrous,” it added.

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