CSSA meeting seeks action

Jake Abbott

On Friday, the California State Student Association began three days of meetings at CSU Fullerton for executive board members and student representatives to discuss the policy agenda, state budget, sexual assault and varying student concerns.

“This weekend’s meetings will set the tone for what will be accomplished this year,” said Anthony Gibson, Vice President of University Affairs for CSSA and adviser for the ASI Board of Directors at Sacramento State.

Gibson said the 2014-2015 policy agenda is the closest thing to being resolved following last weekend’s meetings.

The policy agenda highlights advocating for additional funding through the state legislature, increasing presence and advocacy at the federal level, improving the Educational Opportunity Program’s requirements, partnering with campuses to improve campus experiences for student veterans and developing strategies on applying for the $50 million California Innovation Grant.

“As soon as, I would say November, you’ll start seeing tangible things being voted on,” he said. “But from my experience, January is usually the tipping point. Everything before January is a lot of planning and a lot of ideas.”

The meetings included presentations from the Social Justice and Equity Council, the Internal Affairs Committee, the University Affairs Committee, and the Legislative Affairs Committee.

The most important call to action after each CSSA meeting is then communicated by the Executive Board to the organization’s lobbyist.

CSSA is the only statewide organization that provides a recognized voice in legislature for 447,000 students from 23 CSU campuses on issues such as financial aid, cost of tuition, funding and student services.

The lobbyist on staff for CSSA, Meredith Turner, represents the student voice at the Capitol.

“I think it’s important for students to pay more attention about what’s going on in Sacramento,” said Turner. “Get involved with ASI on campus, get involved with CSSA, because so much of what happens in Sacramento directly impacts you.”

Aug. 29th, the Senate and the Assembly passed AB 1476, a one-time funding for the CSU system to allocate to overdue maintenance projects, to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval. This type of funding would be used for projects like a new Science Two building at Sacramento State, which both Gibson and Meredith said was unfit for a 21st-century education.

CSSA (@csustudents) also asks for students looking to help support AB 1476 to follow the organization on Twitter. “$50 mil is on the line 4 CSU/UC 2 make much needed infrastructure improvements – Ask @JerryBrownGov to sign AB 1476!” Following the tweet is a link to a letter that asks for Gov. Brown’s approval and requires only a signature.

“Imagine if a small percentage of students across the CSU system organized and really advocated on just one issue,” Turner said. “That’s what CSSA tries to do, provide the vehicle that brings students together and come to a consensus on a unanimous front.”

CSSA members meet monthly on different CSU campuses. The organization’s next meeting will be at CSU Humboldt on October 10-12.