Letter from the Editor
Despite the ongoing and very serious financial problems of Santa Monica College, the news of the winter semester’s cancellation came as a shock to me. While I did not attend the September 6 Board of Trustees meeting personally, I have attended many others in the past, and from what I heard from reporters at the meeting, the meeting was filled with the same old obnoxious, juvenile baseness that came to define the trustees meetings and protests of the previous semester.
This small and humble section of The Corsair is directed specifically at the student protesters.
On the one hand, I wish to express my admiration of the student activists here on campus. It is often a very frustrating and saddening reality that many young adults of this generation are characteristically devoid of any kind of interest in politics and social issues beyond what’s happening on their Facebook wall.
But on the other hand, I am embarrassed and sometimes indignant at the behavior I see from some of these activists. As your generation’s Young Turks, it’s to be expected for you all to get fired up about the issues that will affect your lives. But it damages your cause and the collective reputation of other activists on campus when you comport yourselves with perfidy, and show a complete lack of respect for the people who you should really be working with. And yes, I am speaking particularly about the trustees, and to an extent, the administration as well.
You accuse the trustees of using the college as their “piggy bank;” of earning a salary greater than President Barack Obama—and you have the audacity to demand that they should retire to save money for the college. Never mind that these accusations have no basis in reality—never mind that they are completely repulsive—but the sad irony is these statements could not be more false and misleading.
Each trustee makes a monthly stipend of $400 per month, an amount that I’m positive would make President Obama blush. On top of that, some members, like Ret. Judge David Finkel, donate this stipend to the SMC Foundation, which doles out scholarships for students just like you.
Do these sound like the greedy capitalist pigs you so despise? For those of you who still live in the dark shade of ignorance, perhaps you’ll be surprised and mortified to learn that Mr. Finkel, before assuming his post as a trustee at SMC, was a civil rights attorney for many years? This man is someone who not only paid his dues as a fighter for society, but also is also perhaps one of your greatest advocates.
It’s easy to pick scapegoats to blame for all your problems—but you’re fighting the wrong people. Do you really think that these school officials got into this business purely for the financial gain? If you honestly believe that, then I must tell you—there are far better and more cunning ways to “steal” piles of money than by working at a community college.
To the members of the Board of Trustees, I say this: Some students understand the enormity of the challenges you are faced with. I am confident that I can say, without being misinterpreted of being in fear or favor of you—that I am genuinely embarrassed by the behavior of these students, and wish so much better for all of them.
The SMC community needs to realize the urgency and immediateness of the challenges that lay ahead of us. We cannot afford to be divided and point the accusatory finger at one another. We need to get real, grow up, and cease hurling libels at one another; telling lies adds nothing to our collective benefit. We need to become active in our civic duty, and encourage everyone we know to vote this November.