State Lawmakers Address Student Concerns Over Tuition, Mental Healthcsudhbulletin March 15, 2021 0 COMMENTS
By Lafie Bradford, Staff Reporter
Seeking to alleviate concerns of increased costs for higher education, while also increasing support for mental health services for students, were two of the main points addressed in a March 4 town hall that featured California state legislators.
State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson) addressed issues ranging from the lingering effects of the coronavirus and the price of higher education, to increased mental health support and police reform, during the 90-minute event hosted by Associated Students, Inc.
The two emphasized that the next few months will be critical for the state to fully begin rebounding from the economic and personal devastation that the coronavirus has dealt the state. But they told students and others who attended the town hall that they are committed to making the tough, but right, decisions to help with the state’s recovery, as well as helping students get through these hard and trying times.
One question fielded by the two legislators dealt with Cal Grants, and whether they will be reinstated.
“I support the ability to make it easier for students to leverage a Cal Grant and also the reform of it,” Gipson said. “We want to make sure that this is something that you don’t have to worry about.”
Along with the cost of education, another concern of students highlighted by the legislators was mental health, particularly in relation to the effects that quarantining may have. Increasing the number of support groups designed to help students deal with the psychological effects of isolation was one way they felt the legislature could help students.
“You are constantly wearing two to three masks to cover up what you are going through, the hurt and pain,” Gipson said. “These support groups are there to help people cope with the day-to-day pain and surviving of losing loved ones or being sick. Also, these support groups are for those to know that they’re not alone and they are loved and valued.”
Senator Bradford echoed those sentiments.
“It’s no secret that this pandemic is shining a light on situations that are already happening when it comes to mental health issues,” he said.
While neither had specific ideas, both legislators agreed that police reform in the state is something that needs to be attention to, joining other issues they mentioned such as housing, healthcare and the importance of ensuring that internships that were eliminated due to the pandemic will fully recover.