Sunday, October 26, 2008

College "Politics"

Not far away is American River College, a two-year school serving students in northeast Sacramento.

A recall election for the student government was held there recently because said student government voted to support Proposition 8, the initiative that would change California's constitution so that only heterosexual marriage would be recognized by the state. Given the polarizing nature of the recall you might expect a large turnout, but only about 9% of the student body cast votes--and all the incumbents survived recall.

The nine American River College student leaders targeted for recall after the campus government voted to support a statewide ballot measure banning same-sex marriage will remain in office, campus officials announced late afternoon Thursday.

It remains to be seen whether the campus vote, which was seen by many as a referendum on Proposition 8, will be a bellwether for the state or an anomaly.

In either case, the vote is the latest victory for a group of politicized Christian fundamentalists who have gone from outsiders to power-wielders in a matter of months.

"Politicized Christian fundamentalists". That terminology may be accurate, but I wonder if the major Sacramento paper would use similar loaded words to describe "politicized Marxist activists", which describe so many other students on our area campuses. Perhaps this kind of opinion that masquerades as journalism helps explain why the paper is in such a cost-cutting mode lately, and why its parent McClatchy is bleeding jobs faster than a leech. I couldn't care less either way how this election at ARC turned out. My beef here is with the paper's incendiary language as opposed to *trying* to report objectively.

The college president said about the only thing he could say and not anger either side:

Campus President David Viar applauded the democratic process on display.

Way to play it safe, David! Very astute on your part. Say anything but that and one side or the other will be after you.

The Christian Civilization Club became active in campus politics after losing its status as an official campus organization. The majority of it's members are immigrants from the former Soviet Union who came to the United States to escape religious persecution.

How could it lose its status as a club--in such a "diverse" and "inclusive" environment? Because I'm sure that before they got political power, AR was tolerant, peaceful, welcoming place--especially for the Christian Civilization Club.

The opposition group, which collected the signatures needed to trigger the recall, was less organized.

The recall effort was supported by several organizations including the Native American Student Union, Latinos Unidos, GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth) and ARC Campus Progress.

Maybe now they will do a better job and take over in the next election, and impose their beliefs on their fellow students.


Ellen K said...

I wish I could say this kind of stuff was new, but college politics is far more dirty than even the current campaign. The reason that I changed colleges is because I was head of a group that was supposed to put on art related programming for the student population. We had a set budget. But lo and behold, when we went to sign the paperwork to schedule events, the money was gone. Funny how the Greeks managed to have a bang up time with their Panhellenic party during rush, and $5000 just "vanished". After that I stayed out of college politics. And as far as I can see the same folks are running things now. Obama was the president of something at Harvard wasn't he? i rest my case.

Ronnie said...

Yes two anecdotal cases and all club presidents at colleges must be corrupt. Most students aren't interested in college politics since in most cases any policy changes only have consequences years later so who is in power now doesn't matter to who is attending now. I think if the same thing happened at UCD the recall would have been successful, but ARC has a completely different set of demographics. I think the difference lies in the percentage of people who are politically aware at a uc or csu vs. a community college, and the more static percentage of "politicized Christian fundamentalists" at any given public college.

Ellen K said...

Here's the deal, you have universities that give money to groups and there's very little real accounting that goes on. Subsequently, the people who have access can pretty much do what they want with the money and there's little any of the worker bees can do. It shouldn't be that way, but college politics is not a democracy.