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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Fresno State and ASI presidents host open forum to address community concerns

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Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, president of Fresno State University.

President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and ASI President Karen Carrillo hosted an open forum on Wednesday Sept. 20, in the Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room located in the University Library.

Open forums are a way to bring attention to issues that individuals of the campus community feel need to be addressed publicly.

The forum gave members of the campus community the opportunity to ask questions, voice their concerns and receive more information about various issues concerning the campus, policy and the CSU system as a whole.

The event started with Jiménez-Sandoval and Carrillo introducing themselves and both gave updates about what is happening within their departments. Afterwards, the floor was open to the audience for a Q&A session.

Jaden Baker, a freshman student and president of the recently re-established Black Student Union, voiced his concerns about representation in the student body government.

“Freshmen more than ever are getting involved, and what I’ve noticed definitely within ASI is there is no freshman representation,” Baker said. “I feel to leave me completely out of equal representation and having a freshman voice on the ASI, it’s honestly kind of ludicrous to me.”

Baker explained how every institutional organization he’s been involved with has had representation of every grade, he said.

“Definitely they [freshmen students] should receive a lot more representation, especially within ASI, and be included in a lot more of the decisions that are made on campus,” Baker added.

Carrillo explained that any student in their first semester is not allowed to be in any official position within ASI due to guidelines set by the CSU that are in place. Freshmen are allowed to join site committees where they can help influence student government policy, she said.

“I 100% agree with that, and their voice and representation matters because they’re the ones who are going to be here after the third and fourth years,” Carrillo said.

Alexis Rodriguez told Jiménez-Sandoval and Carrillo about how since she’s been on campus, there has been construction going on the entire time. Rodriguez said she came to Fresno State during the 2020 lockdown and doesn’t know a campus without construction being in the way.

She asked the question that many have been wondering: Are students going to receive any money back from the university for the inconvenience of the construction?

“During my time here, I’ve seen construction, and I feel like that brings down the quality of the whole college experience, especially for people that are going to school during my time, the whole four years right after high school,” Rodriguez said. “I was wondering if there could be some kind of a discount or some sort of funding returning back to students who can’t receive their education and the whole experience?”

Jiménez-Sandoval responded to Rodriguez by explaining that the construction is for a robust plan to build a central power plant that is going to make the campus more sustainable. He also said he understands how the construction has been a burden that the campus community has had to endure for the past couple of years.

“So we won’t offer discounts, unfortunately,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “I’m really sorry that while you were here as a student you have to endure so much of the construction.”

Davis brought up more issues to be addressed, specifically issues regarding student workers on campus and how their financial situation is not an ideal one to be in.

“They’re being paid monthly, which for students on campus, at a college, is not necessarily the best form of payment. I think biweekly should be, at most, the gap between payment periods,” Davis said. “I have heard talks as students beginning to unionize and I feel that it shouldn’t have to get to that point.”

Jiménez-Sandoval handed the microphone over to Deborah Adishian-Astone, vice president for administration and chief financial officer, to respond to the student.

“[I] understand that every two weeks would be much more ideal. We are a state employer, and for the state of California for student assistants, we don’t have any flexibility on that.”

Adishian-Astone said that the policy is a CSU system wide one, so it is the same for every CSU campus.

Open forums are a way to bring attention to issues that individuals of the campus community feel need to be addressed publicly.

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