Okay students, teachers, faculty, and staff working within the California State University system, I’d like to preface my blog post with a very serious message:
We are ALL dealing with the issue of rising fees and budgetary cuts to the education system.
It is so extremely easy to want to blame someone for our ongoing issues and lack of support as students and intellectuals, but as students it is our duty to research and understand the issues at hand before we take a position. First, we must consider that, despite all moral efforts to change the educational elite’s perspectives, we as the CSU are a business. After realizing and accepting that fact, we must then consider the necessity to hire those who would be most beneficial to our institution, and do what is necessary to ensure that our company is led by a knowledgeable person with enough experience in times of need. Dr. Mildred Garcia has proven to be that person. She has extensive experience within the administrative and higher education settings, and has begun forging a path for students which few others have been able to even identify. Dr. Garcia has led students across the nation, ranging from the East coast, all the way to the
golden state. Her legacy includes programs like Access to success, in which she created new programs (both online and on-campus) which would provide more accessible degrees and made education available to a demographic which was previously left unconsidered. She has also been an advocate for gender, ethnic, and socioeconomically identifiable students, and has identified herself as a part of we the students. She has been chosen by President Obama to represent Hispanic students throughout our nation, and been honored on several levels as a pioneer for the unheard student. She has broken stereotypes and been the hand that lifts students out of their academic turmoil and into their cap and gown.
While some may consider my position on the topic overly supportive, I speak from experience within our own campus infrastructure. As an active member of the Associated Students Incorporated, Fullerton, I have seen the ups and downs of academia. On several occasions, I and my program were made the faces for a decreasing educational economy, when really, we are paying the same fees that everyone else is. It is the growing apathy and the lack of knowledge on budgetary topics which have bred a growingly angry mob looking to point their finger at the first person to be proud of our campus. There are few to blame within the CSU system, when really they are only reacting to and anticipating the financial setbacks placed on them by the California government.
Messages from our interim vice president for Administration and Finance, Bill Barrett, have detailed the budgetary steps taken to protect our campus from decisions which have been out of Fullerton’s hands. In his message, Barrett discussed the reserves and fees which have actually saved our campus from internal collapse, and the commitment our representatives have made to making these upcoming years as painless as possible.
Having said that, I would like to state that I am angry as well. I am a student hoping to go on to help save the world, and without the support of my state and my country, I feel left out in the dark. I have worked so hard to become a functioning member of society, but have found that our society is no longer functioning itself. Our anger is justified. Our distress is justified. Our need for justice is justified. But until we can support the woman who has made so many advances for students across the nation, we will never be able to unite against the true terror, Californian Budget deficits. I am confident that Dr. Garcia will become a much needed voice for our campus, and play a key role in opening up communication lines which were previously impossible. She has the connections we need, and the experience that our institution yearns for. She has proven herself worthy, and I completely understand why our administrators have been willing to pay her the $325,000 and other financial stipends. To have the best, we must be willing to pay for the best. It will be a minor financial step back in a grander scheme toward educational support. We cannot expect to decrease the pay she currently receives in an attempt to convince her to leave a campus on which she has been a proud advocate. She can and will be a voice for our students, and until she is actually in office, I feel we as students must remain hopeful for her future decisions and goals. It is disheartening to see and hear the negative feedback toward her position on campus issues and financial cuts when she hasn’t been given the opportunity to act yet. We as a student body are nothing when we are separated, but can become everything once we’ve become a united voice against educational maltreatment and rising student fees. Paying more now is a small step in ensuring the success of our campus and the prestige of our future degrees.
Finally, I would like to dedicate the remainder of my post to Dr. Mildred Garcia. While I have been an ardent supporter of Dr. Milton Gordon, our current President, I am happy to hear that a strong and educationally progressive woman is taking his place. We as a student body deserve to have our voices heard within the Californian Government, and I trust that you will finally be that for us. I feel that your past accomplishments and honors have only been a foreshadowing for the path of success you will pave for California State University, Fullerton. I know that, in your hands, the information and initiatives necessary to finally challenging the budget cuts will be made more available, and my only hope is that you are not deterred by the prematurely negative reactions you are currently facing. Congratulations on your accomplishments, and good luck in all Fullerton related endeavors.