By Antony Garcia
Capitalism carries a very negative connotation, but to be honest I am a capitalist at heart. I enjoy the evolution of research and development and how it impacts the technology in our society, increasing communication and boosting efficiency in leaps and bounds.
In the capitalist mechanism there is also the adaptability and efficiency of running a business or corporation by a visionary team of executives, which usually translates into profits for shareholders. In the event that a corporation loses profits, depreciates or is devalued for more than one fiscal quarter, the effectiveness of the executive board and its president is questioned.
Generally, if the corporation continues to depreciate, said board and president are eliminated and replaced at the demands of the shareholders.
This is where I draw some confusion. Is a university not like a corporation? Are the students not shareholders, investing in the service of education by the university? The students pay a fee for access to coursework in order to earn a degree provided they meet the stipulations of demonstrated effective knowledge and critical thinking toward a specific designation by the university.
In my base understanding, that seems to have the relationship of a basic economic transaction.
Of course, there are other factors that impact this relationship, but the efficiency which Wall Street demonstrates is not reflected in the CSU system.
CSUN, alongside every other CSU, has had far more than two fiscal quarters of perpetual depreciation. Fees (investment) have gone up, classes and faculty (service) have been reduced causing students (shareholders) to compete amongst themselves for classes and extending their time at the university in order to graduate.
This doesn’t sound like a functional economic relationship shareholders would stand for. Generally the executive team would be eliminated and replaced with aggressive, visionary leaders who would find creative ways to reduce costs, increase efficiency and produce a high quality service.
I do not understand how the university can raise costs and demand more from their shareholders but the executive team is not held accountable as is a corporation.
I understand the campus is not run entirely on shareholder fees, there is also some government investment. But then, is it not up to the leadership of the executive team to demand more fiscal investment? Is not the very definition of leadership to take a stand and lead when necessary?
The goal of higher education is the ability to think critically and with that comes the added responsibility of questioning authority.
Subjugation is never eliminated, it has historically been simply transferred from one group to another. Are we not now subjugated at an economic level? Are we truly so powerless that we have no voice to question and enact change within our CSU system?
CSUN has been a hotbed of political activism since the 1960s because students had the ability to recognize when authority and leadership was not working in their best interest, and by extension, society’s.
I ask these questions within the context of historic revolutions occurring on a worldwide basis where people are tired of manipulation by their government.
I ask these questions on the eve of the next statewide rally on April 13. I ask these questions because even our own professors ask why we are sitting on our hands.
I think it is no coincidence that black and red are historical colors of revolution and the very same colors of our university.
Students, faculty and staff of all the CSUs, I ask you to join me in taking a bold step but one which I believe we have full authority to take: Support immediate action by our leaders or see them removed.
“I, a student, faculty or staff member of California State University, Northridge support a demand by President Jolene Koester of Gov. Jerry Brown to increase emergency funding of the CSU system within the next 15 days. Should this not occur, then we demand the immediate resignation and removal of Koester for failure to act in the best interest of the students and preservation of CSUN.”
Let us raise the revolutionary colors of our university, and show the true significance of a “Red Rally.”
Antony Garcia is an English major and one of the students arrested during the protests on March 4, 2010.