Wahlberg vetoes, ASI will confront decision on CSSA

Student government leaders thought that their decision on whether to join a state lobbying group wouldn’t happen until the fall.

But on March 11, Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Graham Wahlberg vetoed their vote.

The senate will now continue to discuss joining the California State Student Association (CSSA), which provides one way for Fresno State students to have a voice on Capitol Hill.

According to the bylaws of the ASI senate, “the president may veto, in whole or in part, any action approved by the Senate that shall be deemed by the president to be detrimental to the welfare of the Associated Students.”

Veto reasoning

Wahlberg sent a memo to ASI senators outlining his veto of the March 4 senate decision to hold off on the vote on joining CSSA until Fall 2009. Wahlberg gave three reasons why he believed the veto was important.

First, Wahlberg said, Fresno State students need a bigger voice in regard to the coming tuition increase.
Second, students should be able to represent their opinions at the state level.

And finally, Wahlberg said other schools had pledged to join CSSA.

All senate members got a chance to discuss the matter before voting.

Wahlberg said he wants to try and give the senate a chance to look at the decision again.

“The quickest way to a vote on joining would be to let the veto happen,” Wahlberg said in the most recent ASI meeting, on Wednesday, March 18.

Wahlberg believes that postponing the vote is worse than not voting.

“The information is put in front of the senate now and they are the ones who know most of the information about the matter,” Walhberg said.

Wahlberg believes the image of the senate is important, too. “Postponing the vote until the fall is not the message the senate wants to send to the students,” Wahlberg said.

The senate had a chance to overturn the veto with a two-thirds vote, but at the March 18 meeting, they voted 7-7-1 on overturning the veto, allowing it to stand.

The senate must make a decision regarding joining CSSA before Fall 2009.

The Senate split on the decision because the CSSA has not come up with a permanent policy and vision for members.

CSSA membership a continuing possibility

According to Executive Vice President (EVP) Jessica Sweeten, the CSSA’s new proposal is changing and shouldn’t be voted on yet.

“ASI should not join a contract that has been changing since September 2008,” Sweeten said.

Some senators agreed with Sweeten on this issue, but others strongly agreed with Wahlberg.

Senator Anton Bortolussi agreed with Wahlberg.

“Not voting is cowardly. The ASI needs to take a stance,” Bortolussi said.

Fresno State’s ability to join CSSA will not disappear with a vote not to join. “If the Senate votes no on joining, then the next senate can still join the CSSA,” Bortolussi said.

In upcoming meetings, the senate will vote on whether or not to join the CSSA.

Sweeten has a chance to get more information regarding the matter.

She will be attending the CSSA meeting this weekend where she suspects much debate regarding the changing proposal will take place.

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