Did a “no” vote on the USU referendum matter?

Last week, the New Student Union Leadership Team sent out a campuswide survey to Fresno State students about the possibilities of, you guessed it, a new student union on campus.

The survey is straightforward in its nature, and the student team administering it boasts the possible prize of an Amazon gift card for some lucky participants. But there is one flaw – it is biased beyond belief.

The student survey comes after a semishocking “no” vote on the Bold New U referendum last semester, especially after the heavy push from members of the campus administration and students spearheading the movement toward a new student union.

The survey feels as though there had been a “yes” vote on the Bold New U last semester. It addresses possible eatery options, as well as the accommodations and spaces to come in the new USU. There is even an option to outline the “ideal location” for the new USU.

However, what is alarming is an open-ended question at the end of the survey – “If you voted yes for the Bold New Union, Why?”

It is clear from that question alone that leaders in charge of the new USU initiative are no longer interested in hearing why students would oppose a new student union, much less the costs or the students who are going to be affected by that cost.

From this question alone, it is clear that they only want to hear from those who said “yes.”

At this point, it feels as though those in charge of the new USU initiative are moving forward with or without the support of students who might think differently than those who want a shiny new USU.

While an obvious rebranding of the Bold New U, it feels underhanded simply because the students were asked to voice their opinions last spring. The vote was a hard ‘no’ and now it’s as though the vote didn’t matter.

On paper, the new student union initiative seems perfect. Who could deny a student union that rivals that of San Jose State? Who wouldn’t love a full-fledged relaxation room or whatever else those in favor boast?

Might students on campus love a new student union with eateries and state-of-the-art facilities for clubs on campus to use? Possibly?

But the student population has spoken. Whether or not they are being truly heard is the question.

It feels as though the survey and vote were all a formality to a fate that has ultimately already been decided.

Had a new referendum been brought about reviving the now-defunct Bold New U vote, the tone would be different. However, without an effort to observe a change-in-attitude with students in regards to the referendum, this survey seems more underhanded than anything else.

There are strides being made to improve the overall infrastructure of campus by Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro, but why not wait until problems with existing buildings are solved before we push the possibility of another – very expensive – building?

The legacy of the campus might hang in the balance for those instrumental in this movement toward a new student union. But a legacy might mean losing favor from the students who vocalized a strong opposition in the first place.

What’s the hurry to make sure we have more nap pods or vegan options?

If the New Student Union Leadership Team can justify the need for a new student union at this very moment in time at the cost of Fresno State students who do not have a voice yet, and will not for a few years after the union is built, I invite them to.

The New Student Union Leadership Team is welcome to write a letter to the editor addressing the need and necessity for a new student union. Has the financial situation changed? Or would this still increase costs to students? Explain.

I’m sure students are eager to hear what the committee has to say, and they deserve an explanation.

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