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Student movement proves successful

By | November 30, 2012 | Opinion, Top Opinion Story

I would like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who was involved in the student movement this election season and point out what this past few week events may mean for the future of the CSU.

First, by “student movement” I mean all of you who were involved with ASI’s voter-registration drive, securing of a polling place on campus and those of you who simply voted because this all really made a huge difference.

ASI registered a grand total of 1,775 students, a huge accomplishment.

To supplement this, we were able to work with Brandi Orth, the Fresno County Clerk as well as the County Elections Department.

After overcoming many obstacles, we successfully secured a polling place on campus in the Satellite Student Union. Nearly 1,000 students, employees and community members used this polling place on Election Day.

As for the election results, Proposition 30 passed, causing the CSU to dodge a bullet of the magnitude of $250 million.

Neither our administration nor the state Legislature will have to make devastating cuts as a result, and for the first time in a while, our tuition is decreasing by $249 per semester (for full-time undergraduates).

Exit polls make it evident that the student movement is largely responsible for this.

Twenty-eight percent of the electorate in California was 18 – to 29-year-olds, who supported Proposition 30 by nearly two-thirds, putting it over the top and proving the success of students’ efforts to register and mobilize their fellow young voters across the entire CSU, UC and City College systems.

I cannot emphasize enough how significant this is and what it potentially means for the CSU’s future.

Not only were we spared further budget cuts this cycle, but the overnor and board of trustees, all of whom understand it was students’ hard work that passed Proposition 30, seem to be closer and better connected to CSU student leaders as a result of this.

On Nov. 14, the three proposed fees were taken out of consideration by the board of trustees as a direct result of student opposition.

Gov. Jerry Brown also attended this trustee meeting to speak against these fees, indicating that he understands that the students who passed his initiative did not want these fees (as they would have violated the campaign promise), and that he understands we need to do everything we can to keep education affordable.

This may be the beginning of state reinvestment in the CSU.

We still have serious work to do. While passing Proposition 30 is a huge accomplishment, we still have the same funding levels we did in 1990.

Proposition 30 stabilized the patient (CSU) and prevented it from bleeding to death, but it is still in the emergency room.

Starting now at the end of this semester and beginning of spring, ASI will assemble a lobby corps of students who want to have a hand in fighting for higher education.

We will meet with state senators and assembly members representing nearby districts to discuss what can be done to improve the state of higher education and advocate for Pro-CSU bills once legislative session starts next year.

If you are interested, please contact me at seankiernan85@yahoo.com or 559-278-7703.

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