A.S. responds to criticism of inaction of the March 4 protest

Krista Daly

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CSUN student Justin Marks spoke out about the events of March fourth during Tuesday's meeting. Marks told the senate he was one of the students who had been arrested and said he was proud of his fellow students' actions during the protests. Photo Credit: Christianna Triolo / Staff Photographer

Students and faculty discussed the March 4 walk out during Associated Students open forum, which prompted the student government to voice their opinions on the protests.

“It’s important to raise an awareness, shout, and then sit at the table and talk,” said Conor Lansdale, A.S. vice president.

What we’ve lost as a society is tolerance, Lansdale said.

“I feel nothing less than pride of the actions on March 4,” said CSUN student, Justin Marks, during Tuesday’s A.S. meeting. “It’s easy to be frustrated and point fingers, but we’re all in this together.”

Senator Ernesto Casillas said he was a little disappointed in some of the senators not showing up for the walk out. There could have been a lot more leadership out there, he said.

“Who leads this movement?” said Tom Piernik, university advisor. “A rally is not a movement. It’s a one-time event. There’s still a lot of work to do.”

Most of the demands relate to March 4 itself, which is kind of short-sided, Piernik said.

The demands include justice for Karren Baird Olson, justice for the CSUN students arrested, as well as no citations or charges against those students.

Marks was arrested and charged with failure to disperse. He said he witnessed excessive force used by the police as a participant in the protests.

Central American Studies faculty, Beatriz Cortez, said she was a witness as well and the people arrested were violently attacked by the police.

Students also demand CSUN to respect the civil rights and actions of all students who participated in the protest and provide fundings and transportation to the “March in March” students’ rally. The final point is free education as a right for all.

A.S. President Abel Pacheco invited Omar Gonzales, CSULB’s ASI President, to speak to the senate as the invocation speaker. Gonzales said the day of action is not going to make a difference if we only do it once. It has to be consistent, he said.

“Everyday needs to be March 4,” Gonzales said. “Yesterday is March 4, today is March 4, and tomorrow is March 4. These are just words. The call of action is what’s going to leave a mark.”

Last semester A.S. approved a resolution that stated A.S. does not support the increase of tuition and the implementation of furlough days.

Another resolution passed last semester indicates that A.S. supported a bill which limited fee increases, allowed the revenue from the tax to contribute to increased amount of classes and limiting the number of furloughs and layoffs.

“This board, we do show support to students with the march,” Senator Yasmin Nadershahi said. “Some of us may not be able to march, but we’re still doing what we can.”
Senator Cynthia Medrano said she is all for higher education.

“I’m glad students have woken up and are doing something about it,” she said. “I just hope that all students remember the higher goal of higher education.”

The next step A.S. is taking is to attend the March 22 rally in Sacramento. Money for two busses and supplies was approved by the board Tuesday to bring the demands of the students to the capital.

Casillas said he was really happy the resolution was passed.

“I think A.S. needs to do more outreach and prioritize education,” Casillas said.

Marks invited A.S. to support the April 21 rally as well.

“We’re taking the spirit of March 4 to Sacramento,” Marks said. “We want to raise awareness and educate people. California being 48 in education and the first in prison production is what we aim to change.”