Jul 05, 2020


Dana Hull/The Collegian

Wednesday’s Associated Students, Inc. meeting picked up where it left off two weeks ago, with ASI President Pedro Ramirez as the topic of discussion. Ramirez was absent from the meeting due to an “academic commitment,” but the controversy that has surrounded him lately was unmistakably present.

Fresno State senior Neil O’Brien was the only one to speak during the initial public comment segment. O’Brien displayed a large photo of Ramirez’s blood-soaked Fresno State parking pass lying on the ground near the truck Ramirez was driving in last month’s highly-publicized crash.

“Fresno State sold parking passes to illegal aliens who could not drive legally,” O’Brien said.

The meeting was relocated from the University Student Union to the third floor of the Henry Madden Library. Though previously posted, many were not aware of the change, and this resulted in some members of the public arriving after the public comment session had ended.

The student senate approved $2,000 in funding to Club Verge for publication of their magazine “On the Verge.” The magazine revolves around art and design, and is said to reflect both the Fresno State student body and the community of Fresno.

California State Student Association Executive Director Miles Nevin addressed the senate. He was in attendance “to explain to us exactly what CSSA is, what it does, and what their opinion of us is,” ASI Executive Vice President Selena Farnesi said.

Nevin spoke for a few minutes, and then stated that he would be happy to answer any questions concerning CSSA.

Kristal Oliver, who introduced herself as Fresno State alumni, asked Nevin if CSSA “had paid for Pedro [Ramirez] to go to Washington, D.C. [in support of the DREAM Act during the fall semester].”

Farnesi asked the senate if they would like “for the CSSA representative to answer the question.” A deafening silence filled the room after her question.

“I need a yes or no, senate,” Farnesi said. More silence.

“The public deserves to know,” Oliver said.

Farnesi asked for a show of hands from the senate as to whether they would like Nevin to answer the question, but there was no immediate response.

Farnesi told Nevin that he did not have to answer the question.

“I’m happy to answer it,” Nevin said. “The California State Student Association did pay for Pedro to go to Washington D.C. this fall. We were happy to do so.”

Nevin said that CSSA sent Ramirez, so that he could advocate on part of the DREAM Act. He went on to say that CSSA also supported AB 540, which allows California residents who are in the United States illegally to pay in-state tuition at UC and CSU if they meet certain criteria.

Mary Lou Bonneau-Rodriguez asked Nevin if CSSA had “paid for Pedro’s attorney, too.” Nevin replied that they had not.

O’Brien asked why ASI needed to be part of CSSA, citing Fresno State President John Welty’s appeal for ideas to cut expenditures.

The Senate approved adding a regular meeting to its calendar of meetings.

After the meeting, Bonneau-Rodriguez said that she was upset by the conduct of many of those who support Ramirez.

“They have a gang mentality,” she said. “They’re militant.”

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