The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Three quick jabs at my favorite CSU

Three things happened in the past week that have helped me more fully understand the true character of this school, and I truthfully don’t like what I see.

First, as it’s academic advisement season around campus, I went to my adviser to receive guidance, get my little form signed, and do my bi-annual think-about-the-academic-future-with-someone-intelligent spiel. Since my adviser actually teaches one of my classes, I figured I could try to schedule an appointment with him before class for sometime that week. But after I asked, and when he pulled out a huge stack of photocopied, pre-signed advisement forms that he was giving away to all his students that day, I wasn’t surprised, just disappointed.

My friend had a similar thing happen to him. His summer plans in flux, he was considering taking summer courses at a community college in Central California. He scheduled an appointment with his college’s advisement office to find out if the units would cleanly transfer over, in order to ensure it was worth his time. Not only were the advisers completely unaware of whether the units would transfer over, but the advisers actually responded to his question of, “Who can I ask who will know?” with something along the lines of “Well, nobody really knows.” He was floored.

The third and final thing that happened topped off the week just perfectly. A friend and I are in an upper-division general education course that is without hesitation the most heinously inadequate academic experience I’ve ever been a part of. The teacher, suffering from a self-described workload of nine courses, is clearly overextended, and at this point, I feel sorry for her, and for the class. In total, the once-a-week class has met for full lecture twice. We have spent two entire class periods watching feature-length films. Two consecutive class periods were devoted to the midterm: One was a five-minute “pick up the take-home midterm prompt” session, the other a five-minute “turn in your finished midterm” session. There was a point midway through the semester when, because of a number of things, including Cesar Chavez Day and a cancelled class, I had not set foot in the classroom in five weeks, but had not technically missed a class. This past Thursday simply pushed it past the point of ridiculousness.

All of this, combined with the multitude of foul-ups that float through the Sundial’s newsroom on a daily basis, has finally turned me sour to this university. I’ve always had high hopes for this school, in terms of what its capable of, where it’s going, and why I’m here. Sure, I’ll jokingly poke fun at it from time to time, but in my core, I used to be completely in love with CSUN. In just three fast years, I’ve met my best friends, found my first career, and figured out who I am.

But now I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth. Somewhere between reading the minutes of a CSUN Provost’s Council meeting where our hilariously low graduation rate was being discussed and figuring out that I’d be paying more next semester for this school than ever before, I finally got to thinking.

This school has spurts of greatness all the time. They are so numerous that I don’t even need to list them, because that’s not really the problem. I guess what I’m no longer willing to tolerate is when we hit those great strides of inadequacy.

Apathy on the part of students, faculty and staff would be an example of this inadequacy. There are weeks, such as last week, when I can barely comprehend how little my professors and departmental staff members actually care about their students.

And it’s a two-way street. The students in my upper-division “class” do not seem too concerned about the figurative nose-dive we’re taking, mainly because the class is simply easier to “ace” this way. Regrettably, I’m beginning to feel the same way.

As my semesters here at CSUN begin to stack up, I try to look at this school’s overall character with the intention of defining it, but it’s hard. After being integrated into this campus so deeply, I can’t even tell if my assessment makes sense to other people.

The best I can do is point at this school’s limitless potential — the College of Education, the Oviatt Library, the Sierra Center and professor Rudy Acu?a — and place that on the same podium as all of our greatest failures — academic advisement, student/professor apathy and a border-line deceptive public image. There are days when I am impressed by this school and what it does for me, but as of late, I find the potential that this school once promised marginalized by the events of last week.

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