A friend of mine brought up an allusion to me the other day that I found very appropriate. Picture, if you will, a huge rhinoceros walking down some savannah. On its back, as is common, is an oxpecker bird, picking off all the little parasites for nourishment that might be on the rhinoceros. It is a mutually symbiotic relationship, to be sure, but you have to ask the question, “Can the oxpecker steer the rhinoceros?”
A couple of weeks ago, I made an off hand, tongue-in-cheek comment, questioning the usefulness of the Lory Student Center Senate Chambers for ASCSU, and hence the senators themselves. I was subsequently “invited” to go to a meeting and see just what exactly goes on. So, last Wednesday, I did. I don’t have the space to talk about everything that happened during the nearly three-hour-long session, so I will only present the highlights.
The first thing they did was take attendance. All the senators have little name placards they put in front of their chairs, which, from what I could see, were yellow. The directors, of course, have cards that are green. I was hoping they would give out red cards to the gallery so we could build stoplights, but I was denied.
They asked for gallery input. I wished I had some peanuts at the time so I could present some input from the peanut gallery, but it was too late. I was, however, fortunate in attending this particular session because three spokesmen for the campus Master Plan (say it out loud, it’s cool) were there, which was kind of fun to listen to. Never heard of the “Master Plan?” It’s stylin’, yo! Basically, the Master Plan is set up to plan for all future CSU construction within at least a 10-year period. To paraphrase one of the spokesmen, they want to “preserve what is good and improve what is not good.” Great, I’m glad that’s settled.
Some of the things they talked about included constructing more dorms and revamping old ones, producing more “green areas with character,” like the Oval and how it’ll be a blue day in Hell featuring Disney’s World On Ice before more acreage is devoted to parking. Now, before you get excited, don’t think that the senators voted on anything in the Master Plan. The Plan was simply presented to the senators so they could say, “yay, that’s cool,” or, “that sucks, could you please change it?” But when it all comes down to it, the decisions are already made and ASCSU has very little to actually do with the Master Plan (much like the House of Lords vs. the House of Commons back in the day).
The next highlight of the night was in the executive reports. The first note was that senators should be sure to sign up for their reserved seats to see Norman Schwarzkopf when he comes to speak at CSU on November 6. Other students would be able to get tickets to see him as well…if it wasn’t sold out. Did I mention only a 100 seats were made available to the general student population? That’s sad. The next thing they talked about was a successful letter to the editor in the Collegian, refuting some sarcastic columnist. Finally they talked a little bit about some of the community service projects they are involved in. It was hard to hear a lot of what they talked about, since few senators used the expensive microphone system featured in the senate chambers effectively so that people in the gallery could hear, but such service efforts are certainly useful, even if they don’t directly affect the steering of the juggernaut called CSU. Of course, senators were called upon twice to actually show up for service commitments they sign up for (does this happen in the U.S. Congress as well?)
During this, I briefly said hi to ASCSU President Dave Bower. He’s actually pretty cool, the type of guy who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of the campus and if you talk to him, he certainly will listen and present such opinions to the higher-ups…assuming they listen.
There were other reports from various other branches but I don’t have the space to relate them, even if I could hear everything they were saying, which I couldn’t. But the session did end, rather beautifully, as all the senators, directors, and cabinet-folk stood up and emphatically sang the school song. I haven’t seen such a cute display of school spirit since junior high. But then, aren’t all oxpeckers cute?
Are oxpeckers useful? Sure, I guess. Can they effectively steer a rhinoceros? That remains to be seen.