A.S. needs to get involved too

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Yesterday, new and returning students had an opportunity to hear from the president of the Associated Students, Chad Charton. In an op-ed piece that ran in these pages, Charton greeted the student body and expressed his eagerness to begin the new semester.

It would have been informative and beneficial for the student body to hear what Mr. Charton had planned for the new semester. There are a number of issues that are important to students that are happening right now, including problems with financial aid notification, the infamous credit cards fees, academic advising, and student communication. Sadly, we did not hear about these things.

As the elected body of the students here at CSUN, A.S. represents the interests and concerns of the student body. It is the job of our A.S. leaders to not only to disperse the money that we pay in student fees, but also to be an advocate for the students and to confront policies that are harmful to us, their constituents.

What is the position of the A.S. on pressing campus issues? Have they been involving themselves in the decision-making process? Are there any challenges that need to be overcome, issues left unresolved or new policies that might adversely effect students?

Unfortunately, we don’t know yet. Instead of a plan of action detailing how A.S. is going to help make this a better campus, we were deluged with a stream of nice-sounding phrases and empty generalities that left us no wiser about the intentions of A.S.

While we do not doubt Charton’s enthusiasm for this university, we need solid policies, not platitudes. Instead of a piece on “Matador pride” and “getting involved”, it would have been much more refreshing to hear that our A.S. president was pounding on some doors, demanding to know what the administration was doing about students’ problems.

This might be happening, but we don’t know.

To make A.S. an efficiently run and diligently managed operation is important, and we realize from our own operation here at the Sundial that no organization is perfect.

We would hope, however, that A.S. is looking beyond monetary allocations in its strategic plan for 2005-06. We would hope that issues – real, legitimate advocacy issues – are on the agenda for the coming semesters.

In the future, we ask that A.S. look beyond student clubs and organizations, and toward the real problems that students face. Sending student representatives to university committees is a good first step, but the fun doesn’t stop there.

Is anybody from A.S. trying to find out what type of movement is needed to get Visa accepted again here at CSUN? Is a policy that is intolerable being tolerated? We hope not. For most students, reaction to stories like the credit card debacle is simply this: “I’m so pissed off. This sucks. The university sucks. I have no money.”

For A.S. student leaders, however, the advocates for our student body, the questions must be more complex: Why weren’t students informed? Was student input requested? How do students feel about it? Also, does this have anything to do with the fact that 1,400-plus student decided to not pay their fees before being disenrolled?

If so, that’s definitely worth our time, and their time.