The upcoming Nov. 8 California special election was the dominant issue at the Associated Students Senate meeting Tuesday, contributing partly to a packed gallery that prompted a special meeting of A.S. members.
The main focus was on Proposition 76 and the potential negative effects it may have on CSUN and the rest of the CSU system if approved by voters. The proposition, if passed, would limit state spending to the prior year’s level plus three years’ average revenue growth. Proposition 76, which is supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, would also change state minimum school funding requirements and eliminate a repayment requirement when minimum funding is suspended.
Proposition 76 would also give the governor special powers to reduce allocations of his and her choosing, including employee compensation or state contracts.
Various members of the gallery voiced their concerns during open forum.
“If Proposition 76 passes, we are all going to be in deep you-know-what,” said Kristyan Kouri, sociology and women’s studies professor and executive member of the CSUN chapter of the California Faculty Association. “I want (A.S.) to take a stand against Proposition 76. I’m very afraid of what will happen to public education if it passes.”
Kouri insisted that that A.S. Senate take a stand in order for its members to join an upcoming rally organized by the CFA. The rally will promote awareness of the propositions on the November ballot and will inform students on the positions that the CFA has taken on them.
“This proposition is not going to affect the upper class, it will affect those in a lower socioeconomic status,” said Bryson White, A.S. director political awareness, who also spoke during the open forum. “I encourage you (A.S. senators) to vote no on (Proposition 76) before it gets out of hand.”
Recognizing the potential significance that the passing of Proposition 76 may have, a special meeting of the Senate was called by A.S. President Chad Charton.
For the A.S. Senate to take a position either in favor of opposition of Proposition 76, it is required that a member of the senate propose a motion to be voted on by the body.
After some initial discussion and confusion, no motions were proposed, prompting Charton to call a five-minute recess.
The five-minute recess turned into ten minutes as senators broke off into various small groups to discuss what their opinions were on how such a motion should be worded.
Following the recess, the amount of discussion among senators picked up.
“By taking a stand today, you’re letting (the students) know that something is going on,” said Juana Zamora, Humanities I senator. “It is because students sit back and watch propositions like this come along. As students, we have to stand up to this.”
Lower Division I Senator Chante Felix eventually proposed a motion that pointed out a temporary division in the senate.
The motion, as worded by Felix, was “for the A.S. board members to encourage themselves and students to vote no on 76.”
The division between senators resulted from those who wanted to encourage the student body to vote against Proposition 76, as worded by Felix, and those who did not believe the senate should take a role in telling students how to vote.
Ultimately, after two amendments to Felix’s original motion were proposed and failed, the senate was able to agree that there was not a problem with encouraging students to vote a certain way.
The motion that was finally agreed upon and passed: “We, the Associated Students Board of Directors at California State University, Northridge take a stand opposing Proposition 76 and we would like to encourage students to vote against Proposition 76.”
Michael Salseda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin Carvalho, Social and Behavioral Sciences I senator, urged senators to think about the potential consequences Proposition 76 might create, as its passing would result in an amendment to the California state constitution. The proposition would mean new powers for future governors, not just for Gov. Schwarzenegger, Carvalho said.
Members of the CSUN Greens were also in attendance during open forum and urged a “No” vote on both Propositions 75 and 76.