ASI needs to improve its visibility on campus

By Caché Cantrell

Senior Staff Writer

As part of its mission statement Associate Students, Inc.’s purpose is to “…provide an official voice through which students’ opinions and issues may be expressed regarding university and statewide affairs… to assist in the protection of the rights and interests of individual students and the student body as a whole.” As the campus began to fill with “vote for me” signs from candidates trying to gain our votes during the recent ASI election I became curious if the students on campus knew what those involved in ASI do and what their opinions were regarding how well it fulfills its mission statement.

I found that some students don’t even know exactly what ASI does and it is evident when looking how many students, 1,225, participated in the election. Junior biology major Bianca Solis said that she doesn’t really know what ASI does.

“They provide campus events and that’s kind of what I know,” Solis said.

It seems like there is a lack of student involvement in ASI and it could be because students don’t care to get involved or it could be that they are ill-informed. I attended the last ASI meeting and only four students, excluding myself, were present as the meeting began.

Solis also mentioned that Executive Vice President candidate Derek Stotler spoke with her and her friends about how he wanted to use the 10 hours of office hours ASI members have a week to go out and talk to students. I think that it would benefit students to know about the ASI members who are elected to represent them.

It may be a good idea to go into the CSUB 101 classes and encourage freshmen to get involved, letting them know when ASI members meet. Before doing this story I must admit that I didn’t know that ASI meetings are held on Fridays at 3:15 p.m. in BDC 155. They could also utilize the campus calendar to inform students of the time and place they meet and keeping the ASI website updated. I recently explored the page and under the issues tab was information from 2009 and couldn’t find information on the day and time ASI meetings occur.

Currently candidates plaster posters of themselves and the position they hope to attain through out campus and students are sent an email about the election, given a statement from the candidate along with their photo and vote online. It makes me wonder why the candidate forum was cancelled and candidates didn’t state their case as to why they should be elected in a more formal setting; it would give students a better idea of who is running and students would be more informed about the candidate they want to vote for.

Senior, political science major, and Student Organizer for Students for Quality Education (an organization of students in the CSU system who fight for the educational rights of students), Malcolm Johnson said that ASI could be doing a better job when it comes to representing and advocating for the student body.

“They do a very poor job. They focus on issues like programming when classes are getting cut. They could do more to advocate for the students and the issues that are actually causing us problems,” Johnson said.

As for the ASI members next year Johnson hopes that things will improve.

“I hope that the new ASI members that are elected take a pledge to stop raising fees and approving them because this year our past ASI president was on a committee that voted to approve raising fees, despite running on a platform where he was going to fight for student rights,” Johnson said in reference to the spirit fee going into effect beginning fall quarter.

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