Feb 262008
Authors: Phil Elder

Among the CSU student body exists immense distrust felt toward our dear President Larry Penley.

Much of this sentiment is represented in the chambers of the Associated Students of CSU. In his talks with the student organization he displays a sort of reluctance, even refusal, to respect our peer-elected officials, to hold the students at an equal level with the faculty and administration, even to display any fidelity in our budgetary abilities.

Until last Wednesday I was in wholehearted disagreement with his approach.

At last week’s meeting, the ASCSU Senate voted in a bill supporting a $35 million dollar boost to the Rec. Center so that a minority percentage of students that regularly attend the gym can enjoy a few new toys, like a rock wall and a sauna — the strongest reason for advocacy being “I don’t like dealing with crowds when I go to the gym.”

Before I explain why this is an atrocious allocation of university money, allow me to provide some background.

The bulk amount of the dormitories, excluding Summit and the new one that has replaced Ellis Hall, haven’t been remodeled in a dangerous amount of time and have succumbed to the will of the messiest and most dangerous part of the student body. We all remember freshman year. Many of them, subsequently, have serious problems with both infrastructure and cosmetic appearance.

The Clark building, the location of the staggering majority of classes for the Liberal Arts College — the most enrolled college at this institution — has dangerous levels of asbestos (the exposure of which is known to cause cancer) and other harmful bacteria breeding within its walls. This substandard safety condition has been known for years now, yet nothing has been done, because the university just doesn’t have the bursary to fix it.

Entire programs are being cancelled due to a lack of funding. Some classrooms don’t have enough desks to hold the amount of students enrolled. Tuition, as we all know, is skyrocketing annually.

Yet through the infinite wisdom of ASCSU, without even seeing any documentation regarding allocation of these funds, eight figures have now been given to the most academically useless entity on the entire campus, so that we may impart the message to incoming students “you might get cancer, but you’re going to look damned good doing it.”

Who’s paying for this new remodeling? Not the senators, the vast majority of whose parents are paying their way through college (who else has time to devote 6 hours to useless bantering on campus every Wednesday?), but the students. More than a 100 percent increase in campus recreation funds, every semester for 30 years.

I love the Rec. Center. I’m there every day. And to be perfectly honest I would thoroughly appreciate a rock wall and a sauna to augment my enjoyment thereof.

But not at this cost. I cannot condone the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars on toys while dorms are falling apart, half of the class buildings have volatile bacteria thriving within their walls and tuition is driving the lower income students out of the university and into forced repayment of their loans.

And I am very, very severely disappointed in my fellow ASCSU members that somehow think that this university needs a rock wall more than safety from infectious disease and affordable tuition for the other students — those whose family money doesn’t glide them through their higher education.

Phil Elder is a senior political science major and an ASCSU senator for the College of Liberal Arts. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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