Recently two communications made clear that CSUN is indeed much like the California political culture that we belittle. Students circulated an initiative to bring back football, and an essay in this paper demanded that Jolene Koester be ousted unless she demands emergency funding from the legislature.
The politics of “I want” and “I demand” converge here. It is easy to forget that unfunded initiatives have edged California toward insolvency and that tea-party-like extremisms, of the left and right, have been so polarizing that we cannot make decisions in common. When democracy reduces to the primal screams of “I want” and “I demand,” we suppress deliberation; we therefore act impulsively.
I love football, and I think fees have risen too high too fast. But if we spend more or expect more, we will be sore. Rather, as citizens we must convince the public that education is crucial for defense, health, and wealth. Meanwhile we must steward CSUN’s resources thoughtfully. Righting the mess that nearly all the states are in will take longer than two weeks. If you believe that the answer is simply to fire Reed or oust Koester, then someone has duped you into finding scapegoats. Look for consensual solutions instead.
Harry Hellenbrand, CSUN Provost