March 4 focus of A.S. debates

Krista Daly

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A.S candidate Jonathon Polus answers a question about his plans to deal with budget cuts as a senator as John Siritaranukui listens intently. Photo Credit: Bodhi Severns / Staff Photographer

A.S. candidates debated recent walk outs and what they will do as a senator to help students further their education.

Luda Gogolushko and John Siritaranukui both are running for the Health and Human Development Senate seat, while Jonathon Polus and Jordan Lopez are running unopposed in their colleges of Humanities and Education.

The turnout was minimal for the Wednesday debates, where about ten people attended. One of the students in attendance was Joe Martinez, 18, theater major.

“I didn’t expect to come,” Martinez said. “I was just passing by and I saw this so I sat down.  The protests last week motivated me to become more involved.”

Polus said he thinks A.S. is the best way to go about addressing the needs of the students.

Siritaranukui and Lopez want to be able to give students more resources, more classes, and give them access to everything they should have access to.

“I want to make a huge difference in the lives of students and an experience that will leave them breathless,” Gogolushko said.

The big issue discussed was the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of the March 4 protests, the coming March 22 event in Sacramento, and other things that can be done in the future to help students get a better education.

“This topic is touchy with a lot of people,” Lopez said.  “ It was awesome to see the power and the strength of the students.  They didn’t receive any attention until they did something more controversial and there could have been things dealt with differently, but they received attention and it was the best thing they could do.”

Lopez said students’ reaction like what was seen on March 4 has not been visible in a long time and students have just been accepting the budget cuts.
Siritaranukui said the spirit of the movement was in the right place.

“If being there (Sacramento) is the way we’ll get more funding to out school, it’s a great idea,” Siritaranukui said.

Moderator Dan Monteleone asked the candidates if students should skip classes for the March 22 protests.

“If it’s one class, I see no problem with that, but if it’s a whole day of classes, they shouldn’t go,” Lopez said.  “As a student, teachers are very understanding about things like that, so that’s one option to consider.”

Gogolushko and Siritaranukui agree students have to decide for themselves what’s right for them, making their own decision.

“The experience is definitely something unique,” Gogolushko said.  “I think students should go once to something like this.  They can share their experience and come back and make CSUN better.”

Also discussed was what candidates can do to support clubs and organization financially.

“It’s important we give as much as we possibly can,” Siritaranukui said.  “A.S. is only one part of the puzzle.  Many businesses out there are willing to support clubs.”

Gogolushko said the best way to go about supporting clubs is to build good communication.

Lopez said his idea is networking with each other as well as finding new businesses to fund CSUN clubs and organizations.

“When dealing with delegating money, we need to give time and listen to what they’re passionate about,” Polus said.  “There’s less money coming in and less money going to clubs.  We have to find another way to provide funding.”

Siritaranukui said he is not a big fan of cutting services or raising fees.

“I don’t know what the solution is,” Siritaranukui said. “For the recycling program, for example, we can raise awareness of the recycling program.”

Gogolushko said she would provide an alternate replacement if a club or program had to be cut, such as providing free services within CSUN.

“There are other options without cutting programs,” Lopez said.  “It may be through alumni support.”

Other options would be to raise the awareness of things like what higher funds are for because it helps students understand what is happening, Lopez said.