Jun 25, 2019
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ASI’s CSSA vote postponed again

Student leaders Wednesday delayed a vote that would have seen Fresno State rejoin a state lobbying group, after the university parted ways with the organization in 2005.

The topic has been on the Associated Students, Inc. agenda for a month.

A divided ASI instead motioned to form an ad hoc committee headed by four students.

The committee will talk more with current executives, contact the California State Student Association (CSSA) chancellor and weigh the costs and benefits of the move before a final vote is taken in two weeks.

ASI President Graham Wahlberg was unhappy with the motion to postpone the vote after several ASI members voiced concern over potential expenditures.

“I’m accepting of criticism of CSSA, but I’m not really happy with the outcome,” Wahlberg said after the meeting.

ASI divided over whether benefits are worth cost

Joining the CSSA, an organization that represents all 23 CSU campuses and serves as a mouthpiece for more than 400,000 students, would mean Fresno State would have to pay membership dues that exceed $26,000 over the next two years.

At a proposed 60-cent-per-student fee increase, ASI members were divided on the proposal.

“I haven’t seen a lot of doing in the system,” said ASI member Craig Parks, who expressed concern over the appropriation of fees. “Is it worth the $13,000 over two years?”

Wahlberg disagreed. “$13,000 wouldn’t do that much for us if it were invested at the state level,” he said.

Doubting the CSSA’s efficiency isn’t a new occurrence. According to a December 2008 article in The Collegian, several ASI members felt pulling dues from the CSSA was justified, as the organization had been ineffective in its role.

But Wahlberg, a firm believer in joining the organization, thinks the investment is worth the increase.

“When CSSA says something it actually changes something,” Wahlberg said. “I trust in the organization filled with the brightest minds in the CSU system.”

Wahlberg: Fresno State needs state, federal representation

Yet Wahlberg’s vigilance on the matter didn’t bring a resolution. Senator Melissa Mata asked, “Are we going on assurance or good faith?”

Any waiting would only decrease its effectiveness, Wahlberg argued. “If Fresno State is the last to join or holds out, I will be personally embarrassed,” he said.

Rejoining the CSSA is a tough choice for Fresno State.

With California’s budget crisis and the proposed cuts of more than $300 million in the CSU system, Fresno State could arguably use the CSSA’s presence in legislation to advocate for student issues.

“Everyone would agree that during these economic times, decisions aren’t being made at our level,” Wahlberg said. “They’re being made at the state and federal level.”

Joining the CSSA would give Fresno State a voice on Capital Hill and in Washington, the ASI president said.

“There is no other effective way to step our foot in the door. It’s a considerable force in Washington.”

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