I am very disturbed by the Oct. 18 Daily Sundial front page. I am not as distressed by what is exposed as by what has been blatantly omitted. The main article on the upper part of the page, “U.S. Army event arrives on campus to recruit students,” is a decontextualized account of what the author sees as an exciting opportunity for some students to climb a 30-foot climbing wall, use helicopter and rifle shooting simulators, and peek into Hummers.
The article reports in a celebratory tone what is portrayed as a circus passing through or a day at the village fair. There is no contextualization of why the military event would arrive at CSUN, and absolutely no mention of the loud protest that the display of the war machine elicited from students. No history of why such forceful military occupation of our campus by heavy-duty gear would provoke such an angry reaction from students who are not asleep at the wheel in this momentous time in U.S. and world history. I am very proud of the immediate response by several MEChA students, who arrived with banners and placards at the scene to offer a dissenting view to the unchallenged militarism that the gargantuan big rigs and other oversized war paraphernalia were staging.
?The presence of the military at CSUN, lauded to be one of the most prestigious “minority-serving institutions” in the nation, has been protested against since the day that the administration conceded to allow an ROTC program on campus, which arrived with the intention to recruit students among the sizeable Hispanic campus population. Justifying this decision as compliance to the Solomon federal law that mandates that military recruitment be allowed on campuses with the consequence of loosing federal funding if the implementation of the law is not enforced, President Koester has repeatedly said that she has “her hands tied” in this situation.
Students Against the War, CSUN United for Peace and Justice and other concerned faculty staged rallies, protests and had numerous conversations with the president about this matter. This is not news to anyone, as the Daily Sundial covered many of these protests and interviewed me, as well as other faculty, due to our concern about the growing militarization of our campus. For more information, just refer to past issues of the Daily Sundial.
?The article also failed to mention that around fifty students and faculty took their protest to the President’s office. The rowdy group was received by Koester, the Provost and the Vice President in the conference room, guarded by two undercover, armed agents strategically positioned by the entrance (a d’eacute;j? vu experience of a similar incident that this author has not as of yet been able to digest.) Students and faculty expressed their concern to the administration and demanded them to represent the interests of underrepresented students, who are historically targeted by military recruiters instead of meekly accepting federal laws due to the fear of losing funding that brings so many strings attached.
?The second article in the lower part of the front page, “Dancing for a cause: MEChA event highlights social inequality” is an overdue report on a “coming out” party that MEChA students organized a week ago at the Chicano/a House to celebrate National Coming Out day, the goal of which was to raise awareness about issues that concern LGBTIQ communities.
The picture that accompanies the article exposes a joyful moment of three students who are “dancing for a cause,” as the title of the article indicates, a needed distension in the busy lives of students who, in addition to keeping abreast with their heavy academic load, devote most of their free time to their political activism toward equality and social justice. In stark contrast to the erasure of these students’ participation in the protest omitted in the previous article, their “fun” time is overexposed by an editorial decision that could be interpreted as biased and even ill-intentioned.
?If there is going to be fairness in reporting, the Daily Sundial is obligated to cover both sides of the very controversial issue of the increasing militarism in our school. And if it is going to report about students “dancing for a cause,” it should also cover other aspects of their political activism.
Sirena Pellarolo MEChA Advisor
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