A.S. neutrality doesn’t represent students’ view


It is no big secret among some people I know – such as Sundial editors and my long-suffering roommates – that the Associated Students representatives and directors at CSUN tend to drive me insane most days. The kind of insanity that had me throwing my keys across my office last week. (Though that’s a whole other story.)

But a couple of weeks ago I found myself strangely optimistic. At the California State Student Association meeting at San Diego State University on March 10, CSUN A.S. President Adam Salgado made a responsible decision in abstaining from a vote regarding the California State University-California Faculty Association salary negotiations, because the Senate had not yet come to its decision. Rather than voting for the school and Senate based on just his own opinion, he chose to wait and better reflect the students’ opinion in doing so.

After that, the Sundial staff, myself included, waited for a resolution to finally be brought before the CSUN A.S. Senate. There was genuine anticipation to see what the Senate would decide, as through the Sundial’s reports we have seen that some students support the CFA, while others are in favor of the CSU. But from what we have seen, more people are in support of the CFA.

So needless to say, when we got the news halfway through the meeting via a cell phone call, some people were a little shocked that neutrality – seemingly the coward’s way out – was the official position.

Sen. Byron Baba, who wrote the resolution, said the decision on neutrality was in part based on a lack of information. I would think that after months of working on a resolution, hearing students speak out at Open Forum at Senate meetings, and having several presentations filled with information, Baba and the Senate would have been able to glean even a tiny bit of knowledge. At the Sundial, we’ve talked with people from both sides, as well as students, and gotten statistics from both the CFA and the CSU – and that was in an afternoon, and we’ve been adding to this wealth of knowledge all along. We appreciate that in order to get to the truth, you have to cut through all the bullshit that, let’s face it, both sides (though mostly the CSU) are guilty of producing – but doing this is not difficult. When it is your job to write a resolution that determines a major decision that will reflect all students, it is not too much to ask that research be conducted fully.

I have no doubt that Baba did do some research. However, if you attend this school and can make the most simple observations, you can see that most students have some sort of opinion on the fight between the CSU and the CFA. Since the Senate is obligated to represent students, and most students have at least some opinion, why has neutrality been chosen?

I can understand why some of them might be afraid of angering administrators by pledging to support the CFA. And while I’m not sure what was going on in the minds of those who voted (nor am I sure that I even want to know), if I was in their seat, I know that I’d piss off a lot of students by voting to support to CSU. But that is key here: They are supposed to be representing you, the students. Some students support each side, so even picking a side would have been better than neutrality. Neutrality is chosen when people are either too frightened or unsure about the fallout. It is rare that anyone chooses neutrality without their decision being influenced by a possible outcome. The students in A.S. are politicians – they know how this works.

But in refusing to take a stand – in essence, refusing to stand by the students they were elected to represent – they are making a mockery of this process. They heard what students thought and went against all opinions, regardless of what side the views represented.

Thus, they have driven me to new heights of insanity; now we’re just waiting to see how they misrepresent students again. I’m pretty sure we won’t have to wait long.