The Department of Performance, Play, and Design depends on crucial funds from Measure 11

If passed this will be the first increase to funding since 2003

Since 2003 students have paid $2 a quarter in exchange for free access to performances and events put on by the Department of Performance, Play, and Design (PPD). Measure 11 which established this price has helped the department pay for its theater productions. Now Measure 11 could be back on the ballot pending approval from the Dean of Students, VC of Student Affairs, the Chancellor’s cabinet, and the University of California, Office of the President. Hopefully Measure 11 will be back on the ballot for UC Santa Cruz as it aims to raise the quarterly price from $2 by $5.

Sabrina Fogel, the student liaison for the department, took the leading role to push this measure to pass. “I think it is important that, as a campus community, we can come together and support the arts and artists,” says Fogel. “It is my job to represent PPD students and spearhead the movement to add Measure 11 to the ballot this year.”

The increase in cost is estimated to bring in $262,530 based on student enrollment, although this number may vary based on actual enrollment per quarter in the coming year. Measure 11 will also increase the fee by 3% each year to keep up with inflation until 2030, ending at a price of $5.79 per quarter, at which point funding will be reevaluated. By 2030 the expected funding from this measure will be just over $300,000.

The increased revenue is expected to largely pay for productions, given the prices of materials, such as lumber and steel, have greatly increased over the past 20 years. It will also compensate student workers for their labor more equitably. The measure will benefit students in the theater arts by providing them with more resources to create higher value productions, and give them better hands-on education opportunities. It will also grant the larger student body access to experience new and innovative aspects of theater arts on campus.

Official polling of the UCSC student body on the 2023 ballot showed majority support for the new measure, with 64% of students in favor of raising the price. When asked about how high the price should be raised 11% of students were willing to pay $7 more per quarter and 18% were willing to pay $10, but the vast majority were in favor of a $5 increase. 

Michael Chemers, the chair of the PPD department, emphasized the importance of performance on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus. "Events enrich the entire UCSC community with high-quality productions that every student can attend for free,” he says. “The change to Measure 11 will therefore benefit the whole campus. All we are asking for is a small adjustment to account for inflation over the last 20 years." 

The Department of Performance, Play, and Design also intends for this measure to benefit diversity on campus given that it will go into promoting cultural performances such as those by Bayanihan, Grupo Folklorico Los Mejicas,and the Indian Student Association.

“If (and, hopefully, when!) Measure 11 passes,” says Fogel, “the PPD Department will be able to increase the production value of shows on our campus, leading to larger-scale and higher-quality shows for all UCSC students for free.”

The department of Performance, Play, and Design puts on an average of six shows per year. The next show, Clyde’s by Lynn Nottage which will be performed by UC Santa Cruz’s African American Theater Arts Troupe, will premiere at the end of February. Though Measure 11 still needs to be passed before it takes effect, similar shows to this will benefit from the increased funding.

Assuming Measure 11 gets added to the ballot, the election will take place on Monday, May 6th through Friday, May 17th. Voting will take place online at Supporters of Measure 11 hope to see it on the ballot so in the future it can bring more money and resources into the department.