A.S. discusses cost of buses used for demonstration in Sacramento

Samantha Tata

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Senator Amanda Flavin and Senator Johnathan Polus during the senate meeting on Tuesday at the Grand Salon in the USU. Flavin was one of the senators who traveled to Sacramento on Monday with students to protest education budget cuts. Photo Credit: Herber Lovato / Assistant Photo Editor

Busses chartered by Associated Students to send a small group of CSUN demonstrators to Sacramento Monday for a protest of statewide budget cuts costs the group $2,103, averaging $96 per attendee.  CSUN sent 21 students on a 47-passenger bus, which included five A.S. senators and two Sundial reporters.

The bus was reserved for 21 hours and cost $450 for the first five hours and $80 for each additional hour.  A 20 percent fuel surcharge was added totaling $173 and an additional driver was added to the bill for $200, whom A.S. did not tip.

This is the second year in a row that A.S. has allocated funds from their transportation budget to shuttle students to the state capitol for the two-hour march. A.S. reserved four busses last year for about $3,000 but only sent two and a half to Sacramento.

“I am sad to hear of the low turn-out,” said A.S. President Conor Lansdale.  “It’s not what we expected.”

A.S. reserved two charter busses with Transit Systems Unlimited, Inc. of Sun Valley, but cancelled one when student interest dwindled.

This is in contrast to the March 2 senate meeting when Lansdale said the A.S. had “more than enough money” to fund the “relatively cheap” transportation, the Daily Sundial reported.

During that same meeting, several senators, including event coordinators Melinda Hambrick and Amanda Flavin, expressed their interest in attending the protest and predicted high turnout figures.  Adding the protest would be well-organized and vital for CSUN to be represented.

Lansdale said about 60 students originally signed up and were placed on a waiting list to attend the rally, but most cancelled their commitment as the date approached.

Sacramento had gloomy weather Monday with light rain and cloudy skies.  Vice President Neil Sanchez, who attended the event, mentioned poor weather as a possible reason why students deserted their plans, but did not excuse it.

“There’s no excuse to have (so many) cancellations the night of,” he said.

Sanchez noted the protest highlighted the plight of community colleges specifically.  He cited Modesto Junior College (MJC) as being in danger of losing nine departments.  Unlike CSUN, MJC’s 20,000-student commuter campus sent 10 full busses to the capitol Monday.

In other news…
A.S approved the following:
Salvadorian American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), a community-service based organization which focuses on AB540 and financial aid awareness, middle- and high school-student mentoring and promotion of higher education among low-achieving groups.

Preconception Peer Educators (PPE), is an organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This 50-member group trains its participants to educate the community on infant mortality rates with the intent to reduce health disparities among prenatal women.

CSUN Improv Club, a new organization that intends to offer an affordable alternative to expensive local improvisational comedy schools and teach its students the basic concepts of play and see professional shows with the possibility of an end-of-semester performance.

Graduate Art Association;
Joy Hafer as member of the Elections Committee.