$20 million question: What the $@*! is the UC Board?

By Lizzie Mitchell
Flapjack Chronicle

The Humboldt State University Board of Directors makes decisions for the students, without any say from the students.

“There’s no student input,” Bloom said. “No publicity of the board, no transparency and we’re not accountable for the decisions. So that’s what we tried to address in the student engagement proposal. But it’s just a tiny step towards that.”

More than $20 million in student fees rests in the hands of the HSU UC board.

Bloom said that a lack of clarity and student involvement in the board’s decisions reveals unethical and possible law-breaking violations. Bloom, along with environmental planning major Jerry Dinzes introduced a student engagement proposal to the board in order to change this.

The proposal asks for space for public comment on the board’s agenda, more descriptions of items that the board plans to discuss in its meetings and an overall greater student presence in its planning processes.

Dinzes said he is familiar with planning processes and wants the board to ask for student input before, instead of after, making decisions.

“[The board] just doesn’t feel the need to reach out to students as much,” Dinzes said. “I think from their viewpoint it makes things easier, but that’s not what makes a good planning process. You need to bring people in before spending their money.”

With a student body around 8,000, each HSU student pays $100 every semester to the University Center, which creates about $800,000 in funds. The center governs places like the Student Recreation Center, Center Arts and the bookstore.

The board meets once a month. Last Thursday, the 16-member board, headed by University Center Executive Director Dave Nakamura met to discuss and vote on this student engagement proposal, along with changes to the board agenda. A few students also attended the meeting and spoke up during public comment to voice concerns.

The Depot renovation budget sparked the most comment. Students questioned the board’s decision and asked for clarity about why the budget passed with minimal student input. It is a large budget and some students do not think that the depot needs renovating at all.

Taylor Cannon, a 30-year-old HSU graduate sociology major, participated in the public comment about the Depot, and also had doubts about any change to the board’s decision-making process.

“I feel satisfied that there was open comment,” Cannon said. “But I don’t see processes changing. Also there needs to be more students.”

Victor Arredando, a 26-year-old sociology majorsaid that despite speaking up during the meeting, he still doubts there will be any future changes with the boards’ decisions about budget.

“[The board] needs to be more transparent,” Arredando said. “I’m definitely going to be around more. I want to know what they do with our money.”

Dinzes said the board is taking steps forward by allowing public comment, but there were too many exchanges between board members and the public on April 11.

“Typically when you do public comment you don’t go back and forth with people,” Dinzes said. “Instead you listen to people and then make decisions based off what they say. But [the board] also isn’t used to public comment.”

Students will get the chance to participate more in future decisions, as long as they are aware of board meetings. A major part of Bloom and Dinzes’ proposal includes advocating for better publicity from the board and more descriptive meeting agendas.

Bloom said even though public comment successfully happened on April 11, it is important for the board to officially encode the participation of the public into the agendas.

“Even though it was a great victory,” Bloom said, “without amending the bylaws to incorporate it, it’s all going to disappear in four years when students graduate. We will have no institutional memory of it.”

Bloom said it takes a long time to amend bylaws, and hopes the executive committee considers the proposal and does not let it disappear. He said his participation on the board included a lot of frustration this past year.

Bloom said at the first big meeting the board had this year he had trouble even asking questions and receiving fair answers about different agenda items and decisions. He said that Peg Blake, HSU vice president of student affairs enforces everything Nakamura does and answers most of Blooms’ questions about the boards’ actions.

“It’s just [Blake] affirming administration and business-as-usual practices,” Bloom said.

Changes to the board meeting agenda include descriptions under each action item, changing the open forum to general board discussion and adding space for public comment to each item. Bloom and Dinzes hope that these changes will help the board work toward a more ethical governing process that includes students.

“I heard a lot of bad stuff about how no one never knows who [the board members] are,” Bloom said. “People told me I had to fight for transparency on [the board] and I was like ‘whatever,’ but when I got on there I was like ‘holy cow I do,’ and part of that is just making sure people know they exist.”

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HSU football ‘springs’ into gear

By Lizzie Mitchell
Flapjack Chronicle

A cluster of green and white jerseys huddled together as the word “Jacks” echoed off the stadium seats and trees surrounding the Redwood Bowl.

The HSU football team laced up its cleats and practiced as a team for the first time this spring on March 11. A total of 75 players huddled together and then broke off to start warming up for drills.

Nick Ricciardulli, a 23-year-old recreation major, is team captain for the Lumberjacks and started last season as running back. He said that the team as a whole is working on a lot this spring, and is pleased with his teammates so far.

“We have focused this spring on improving our tempo and intensity in practice,” said Ricciardulli. “We know that how we perform on game day is determined by how we practice.”

He also that spring is a good time for the development of younger players, and he looks forward to seeing that.

“I’m interested to see who wants to step up,” said Ricciardulli. “I want to see who can play at a consistently high level to help us win games this fall.

Among the freshmen on the Lumberjacks is Trevor Short, an 18-year-old kinesiology major who is looking to start as an offensive linebacker. He said that he wants to learn more about the team’s system this spring.

“I mostly look forward to just being back on the field doing what I love,” said Short. “I’m hoping to put on a few more pounds to be able to compete at a high level.”

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Both Ricciardulli and Short also said that they have formed good friendships with their teammates, and get to be with with them more now that spring started. In addition to the team spending more time together, their chances of injury have also increased because of the physical practices.

Athletic trainer Neema Kianfar said that the start of spring practice has increased his workload. He has to prepare for practices and make sure that all of the players’ injuries are taken care of.

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“You’ve got to be pretty quick and multitask a lot,” said Kianfar. “You really have to be on top of things everyday.”

He also said that it isn’t all work, because he enjoys seeing familiar faces in the training room and on the field again.

The Lumberjacks started their practices to improve and prepare for Fall 2013 season, and still have 14 more practices ahead of them. While spring is mainly a time to improve and learn, Ricciardulli said that his entire experience on the team has been a learning experience.

“I have learned countless lessons that will guide me on my future endeavors in life,” said Ricciarduli. “I’ve also developed friendships with my teammates that will last a lifetime.”

Students struggle to represent

By Lizzie Mitchell
Flapjack Chronicle

You have the opportunity to be the voice of all 437,000 California State University System’s students’ needs and wants.

The California State Student Association is looking for a student to serve as a trustee on the California State University Board of Trustees. This student serves a two-year term along with one other student and helps determine new governing policies for the entire CSU system.

“I definitely don’t have time for that!” Robert Barnett said, a 22-year-old biology major at Humboldt State.

Student trustees represent each university’s students and their positions on topics like financial aid, admissions and tuition — to name a few. They learn about student needs through communication with each school’s Associated Students government.

The student trustee position is the highest level of office that a student can hold in the CSU system. Jacob Bloom, one of HSU’s AS student-at-large representatives, said it is a struggle to influence some of the major decisions that these student trustees vote and decide on.

“We’re definitely a very unique area,” Bloom said. “It doesn’t really feel like we’re a part of California, but we’re subjected to the same rules that people in L.A. are. It’s definitely a different school system and a way of life.”

HSU AS president, Ellyn Henderson, also said that HSU’s distance from the rest of the CSUs might be a disadvantage in the policy-making decisions that involve the student trustees.

“I don’t think it’s connected enough,” Henderson said. “Humboldt specifically has a problem with that because we are the most disconnected of all the CSU’s. We don’t have big events or big committee meetings. Plus, LA is where the Chancellor’s office is.”

The Board of Trustees meets six times a year at the CSU Chancellor’s office in Long Beach, Calif. While there, the student trustees communicate with the 23 other board members about different ideas and plans for the CSUs.

In addition to HSU’s distance from the rest of the schools, a lack of student involvement may also affect its weight in the board of trustee’s decision-making.

“People don’t even know what AS is,” Henderson said. “Part of getting all schools included is including the diversity of opinions on the decision making. If we don’t have an input, it hurts the bigger decisions overall.”

Henderson also said the CSSA is considering investing in the appointed students’ tuition who are representing, which would hopefully provide more of an incentive for students to get involved.

Briana Pagdon, a 19-year-old biology major, was interested.

“My tuition would possibly be paid for?” Pagdon said. “Sign me up!”

Bloom also said, in addition to a lack of student involvement, HSU’s AS has a hard time because of how top-down the orders are in their policy-making. There are higher levels of power above each governing body, and the higher-ranking authorities ultimately end up having the most say.

He said that instead of representing the students, he feels that a position like the student trustee is only an opportunity for that student to represent himself or herself.

“It’s a very fine line of being able to qualify for [the position],” Bloom said. “You have to be in good with all the top dogs, so from what I’ve seen, you can’t represent students at all. You represent the people whose asses you have to kiss to get there.”

Bloom said the high status that the position suggests might outweigh the greater interest of the students, because it is so hard to fully represent so many people.

“If I were one of these [student trustees],” Bloom said, “I wouldn’t represent students at all. It’s so painful for AS on campus to know what we want, so much as someone who gets flown down to Long Beach to meet with the governor. I mean, I’d just feel like the shit if I were doing that.”