LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Sac State has listened to students in fall 2021 instruction decisions

ASI President Noah Marty responds to editorial regarding fall 2021 instruction


Graphic made in Canva.

Noah Marty

This is a letter to the editor from Sacramento State Associated Students, Inc. President Noah Marty in response to The State Hornet’s editorial regarding a lack of student involvement in Sac State’s fall 2021 instruction plans.

Through all the challenges that our students have faced this year, it has been my utmost priority to ensure that our students’ voices are represented, to ensure that our health and safety is central to decision making, and that we have a say in the decisions that are made. Although I recognize the unique communication challenges that this pandemic has brought, I strongly feel that has not compromised student representation in decision making. 

I would not normally write a response to a State Hornet article as I respect the institution. However, when an editorial centered around students’ having been excluded from decision making was published without once reaching out to the elected student leaders whose job it is to represent the students in decision making, I felt the need to set the record straight on the areas where I disagree. There were also claims in the editorial that I felt to be inaccurate, and I want to address those as well. 

Student concerns regarding vaccinations, housing, and class offerings are real. These are some of the very issues that we at ASI are working to address. This letter in no way intends to challenge the validity of those issues, but rather seeks to address the claims made that students have not been involved in decision making, which I strongly disagree with. 

“You would think that a $7000 payment for tuition and fees would buy you a seat at the table, but apparently not.”

This, the tagline of the editorial, was the line that made me decide to put pen to paper today (metaphorically of course). Physically having 31,000 seats at the table is not possible, so we instead lean on our democratic traditions of elected representatives being our voice. Your ASI leaders are elected by you through the elections each spring to have a seat at the table. 

This year we have done exactly that. I personally have consistently had a seat at the table for the administration’s COVID-19 related meetings and advocated for the student voice on the issues of testing, campus operational decisions, vaccinations, and much more. 

To say “but it feels unconscionable to not even bother to ask students what they want” regarding class presentation formats, when an email was sent out on March 18 to Sac State students by the administration asking exactly that, is not accurate and can make ASI’s advocacy more difficult. 

Had the authors of this editorial reached out to the administration or to their ASI representatives, they would have found the survey utilized random sampling of all students, resulting in distribution to nearly 8,000 students (25%) so not every single student was chosen. In fact, 595 students responded to the survey, and while I wish more students would have participated when given the opportunity, the selected sample size is more than adequate for me to consider this outreach a legitimate effort to understand what students want for class modality.

Another section that I take issue with is one referring to any collaboration between ASI and the administration on this issue as “performative action.” I disagree with how it characterizes the work of my colleagues and the administration’s collaboration with ASI. The addition of the ABC/No-Credit grading option is evidence of this. The University listened to the students advocating for the option to be included in Fall 2020, and Spring 2021, and did exactly that.

Given the difficult reality of COVID-19, I know it can be easy to interpret Sac State’s actions as simply being run like a business. With that said, I can honestly say Sacramento State is led by genuine people who care deeply about the students that attend classes. Your voices have been listened to, and the best outcome for students has been central to actions taken, even when tough decisions have been made that you may disagree with.

I ask anyone reading this that shares the perspective identified in the editorial to bring those concerns to us. ASI holds public comment at our weekly board meetings, all of our board members hold office hours, and I personally respond to student DMs on Instagram 24/7. We have students appointed to nearly 100 positions on committees advocating for the student voice and we work to bring your voice into those spaces.

This year has been difficult, and of course there can be improvements in how we all communicate during this incredibly challenging pandemic. With that said, I strongly disagree that Sac State has not involved students in fall 2021 instruction decisions, as students have had seats at the table on this issue, and the multitude of other issues that we have faced during these difficult times. Please email or DM me about any issues you have that have not been addressed.  


Noah Marty

President and CEO

Associated Students Inc.