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AS excludes Green Party from debate


Eugene Hernandez member of the Green Party speaks during the open forum at the Associated Students meeting on Tuesday at the Grand Salon. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Contributor

An alumnus told Associated Students they were acting like the “1 percent” for excluding the Green Party in an upcoming political debate during a heated open forum Tuesday.

“If you want to act like the 1 percent and exclude grassroots politics, that is an offense to every student and taxpayer here,” said Eugene Hernandez, a CSUN alumnus.

The student government approved the allocation of $18,410 to “Big Politics,” a three-part series designed to improve CSUN’s political engagement and to increase its national recognition.

“By hosting an event like this, sure, maybe we don’t have a football team that will make our university’s name stand out on a resume, but we can do it in other ways, and we can do it through events like this,” said William Ryder, business and economic senator.

The first part of the series is a debate between Democrats Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Howard Berman, and Republicans Mark Reed (an actor and businessman) and Susan Shellie (an author).

Ryder said the number of candidates was narrowed down to four to allow for a more substantive discussion and convey different viewpoints. Ryder also said candidates were selected based on who seemed most likely to move past the June primary.

Former CSUN history professor Michael Powelson was unhappy with the decision to limit the debate to the two major parties.

“There is no downside to including someone such as myself. In a democracy you allow all voices to be expressed. If you don’t allow them to be expressed, they don’t go away they just get pushed underground,” he said.

Powelson is running for Congress under the Green Party in the upcoming election.

A three-person panel, consisting of a student, faculty and alumnus will moderate the debate. It was designed to reflect the three community voices of CSUN, Ryder said.

The other two parts of the series are tentatively scheduled for on May 3 and May 15.


  1. ynanya May 3, 2012

    I am a Powelson Campaign worker and supporter, can I leave a comment here?  

    Fairness in political practice is not that complicated.  There used to be stronger journalistic and public conventions for political discourse, and now they are overlooked as unimportant.  The CSUN “Big Politics” was very Orwellian, especially as moderated by Bill Handel.   It was as if people “from the outside” took over CSUN for the evening; there seemed to be such a disconnect between this event and the student population.  (and I’m sure the students can hardly wait for Cameron Smyth to talk).

    The Pierce College debates on May 1 were open and participatory and not so staged.  What a wonderfully strong show of democracy it would have been if Sherman and Berman had been there!  On the local level we should have an openness of ideas and real political debate about possible solutions to any number of crises that define our lives–and not least among them is democracy itself.  

    “Big Politics” was an appropriate name for the event. 

  2. ynanya May 3, 2012

    I am a Powelson Campaign Worker and Supporter and Green Party Member–is there something wrong with me posting a comment here?  Bill Handel was a horrible choice for moderator, and how does someone such as that represent CSUN students?  

    The CSUN “debates” were Orwellian–the Pierce “debates”–where “Big Politics” was absent, meaning Sherman and Berman were not there, was open and participatory.  It would have been such a wonderfully strong show for democracy if all of the candidates had been there–why not?  We don’t even entertain the idea of “fair practices” in journalism or in political forums.  Why not?  

  3.  As
    the President of the Associated Students of Santa Monica College we
    just hosted a congressional debate that was open, inclusive, democratic
    and was hugely successful.
    The Santa Monica College debate
    consisted of congressional candidates from multiple third party
    candidates including the green party, libertarians as well as republican
    and democrats. The debate was a huge success and we plan on hosting
    another debate in the near future. The suppression of choice in
    any electoral debate undermines the democratic process. You have an
    opportunity to change your decision and host a truly democratic and open
    debate. In Solidarity, Harrison Wills President of the Associated Students of Santa Monica College 2011-2012

    1. Carlos Aguirre Apr 12, 2012

      Come on Harrison. You didn’t stumble across this article by accident just to make an argument against “suppression of choice.” You’re not making the case for the other democrats and republicans being excluded. One Google search shows that you’re a Green Party member yourself. http://www.cagreens.org/delegation/election-bios/2011-12/wills

  4. Teddy Apr 11, 2012

    Good job, Sundial. Your article made no mention of how Hernandez threatened the Associated Students and their event. This guy was yelling at them like a drunken bully hurling threats and insults. Guess you didn’t think that was important.

  5. Richard Valdez Apr 11, 2012

    They made a decision based on “the money they raised”, eventhough a lot of this money is from special interest. Looks like everyone is doing the same thing. https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/events/336351113093967/

  6. EdyAlvarez Apr 11, 2012

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  9. First L Apr 11, 2012

    I like what Mr. Hernandez said and it is true that the ASO is misusing ASO funds to give to the 1% POLITICIANS who advocate war with Iran, destroying the Palestanians and in support of big banks. Why are they afraid of hearing the truth from the Green Party?

  10. BurgerLess Apr 11, 2012

    The article doesn’t say when or where the first debate will be held. I’d like to attend.

    1. Michelangelo_L Apr 11, 2012

      April 30th at the Performing Arts Center.

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