Letter from the Editor: the election issue

Ahhh, elections. They’ve been the talk of the country ever since Trump declared his candidacy and Sanders started shouting about Wall Street.

I’m at a point where I slowly back away when somebody starts talking about who’s going to be the next U.S. president.

But in this issue of The Corsair, we’re covering a different election. A more innocent election. One that hasn’t had a chance to be corrupted by corporate interests. One where ideals are still held dear and have yet to be jaded by the cronyism that dominates the post-college world. One that, while it may not be getting national attention, holds great importance for the students enrolled in SMC starting in the fall.

At stake in this election are the 13 positions on the Associated Students Board of Directors. In the race are 27 students hopefuls with an eye on change and brains full of ideas.

By the time this issue hits newsstands, the voting period will be half over, but there will still be plenty of time for student voters to affect the outcome.

Most students underestimate the importance of these positions and the impact they can have.

The campaign is only a week long, leaving barely enough time to get to know any of the candidates intimately or for the candidates to do anything more than scratch the surface on the most important issues. Then voting only lasts a week, contributing to voter turnout being around 2,000 out of over 30,000 enrolled students.

Those things don’t indicate that the people being voted on are going to be handling a large amount of student money that is accumulated through the $19.50 AS fee that most students pay without ever realizing that it’s optional.

So while their impact may go largely unacknowledged by the average student, these are important positions and should be treated accordingly.

The Corsair hosted the AS Forum and debate last Thursday for the first time in order to try to sort through the mayhem and allow students to dive a little deeper into the ideas of the candidates. Our photostory this week shows off some of the visuals.

In this issue, you’ll also find profiles of the three presidential candidates: Terrance Ware, Steve Maldonado and Daira Bustos.

Aside from the election, we have plenty of other stories this week.

The Theater Department began showing “Cheatin’,” their second play of the semester, last Friday. Contributing writer Farid Mirzaei had a chance to check it out and comes back with a full report. Also gracing our A&E section is a profile by Grace Gardner of the underground band Walter Etc. She talks with the lead singer about the growth and evolution they’ve gone through from the days when they called themselves Walter Mitty and his Makeshift Orchestra.

In sports, our News Editor Adam Thomas puts on a new hat and covers the 2016 California State Open Table Tennis Tournament, which took place over two days. He documents all the chaotic tabletop action as the battle for the title of Ping Pong champion.

Op-Ed Duel returns again, this time pitting Grace against Contributing Writer Claudius West as they debate the effectiveness of the Black Lives Matter movement. Meanwhile, Staff Writer Ashleen Knutsen breaks down the science behind March Madness and explains why being a sports fan can be psychologically beneficial...unless you’re a Nascar fan.

Finally, in news, a large protest was held in front of the 17th Street parking structure prior to Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting. The SMC Classified staff had their pickets sign waving over the board’s reluctance to give them the three percent wage increase they desire. As of this writing, we have yet to receive confirmation about whether the issue had been resolved in the meeting that followed but we talked to some of the picketers to get their take.

I want to wrap up this letter by bringing up an issue that many of the candidates in the election have been bringing up. It started with the Sam Ross profile that we printed last issue. In the article, we quoted Ross as he talked about the gap between students and administration and how some administration members will “take advantage of what they can, do what they can get away with, delay and obfuscate.”

Many think the problem is that students are not treated as equals. I could elaborate on this point, but during the public comments portion of the Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, AS president Jesse Randel encapsulated the heart of the issue so well that I’ll let him draw the curtains on this week’s letter. He said:

“I’ve heard the word kid said multiple times tonight, and I would just like to remind the Board of Trustees, all the administration, all the faculty, everybody who’s not a student. Students aren’t kids. They’re students. I’m not a high school graduate. I’m a 30 year old military veteran. And when I hear myself being referred to as a kid, it’s irritating. It’s really irritating. And there’s something of the perception around school that students can’t critically think, that we can’t make up our own mind, that we can’t decide to advocate for something just because we agree with it. And I would just strongly urge all of y'all to think of us as rational, critical thinking adults — and I firmly believe if you treat someone like an adult, they act like an adult. If you treat them like kids, they’re going to act like kids. So please, if you catch yourself saying kids, I’ve caught myself doing it a couple times, because I'm a little bit older too. We’re not kids. We’re students.”