One more open letter to ASG

Keith Cousins

According to Webster’s Dictionary, an opinion is “a view, judgment or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.”

Those of you who care to take a look at the top of this page will notice that the word opinion appears rather largely in a bold font.

With that said, I feel it is important to respond to the three page letter our student government wrote in response to my previous OPINION columns. 

Although I did not write the editorial, the piece serves as the thoughts and feelings of the editorial board so I will respond to concerns about that piece as well.

Just a side note, while I applaud your enthusiasm in responding to my columns, posting these letters in our newsstands is not only amateurish it is illegal as well.

Let’s start off with your reaction to the editorial. The piece was about the now infamous “65% rule” and you had some very interesting opinions on the matter.

“$6,000 is a lot of money for a program that will only benefit a few students on campus. Our responsibility is to all students on campus.”

This was quite interesting to me, as the beginning of your letter clearly says otherwise in regards to whom the Lariat benefits.

“We need the voice of the Lariat for, without you, ASG cannot adequately reach out to the student body.”

So when it comes to providing information to the student body at Saddleback College the Lariat is essential. However attending a conference that enables our staff to provide this information better does not benefit the campus at all?

I was challenged to do more research with regards to who the ASG is and what they do, I was browsing through the budget once again (yes I am familiar with it) and found something very interesting.

While the Lariat did not receive the entirety of the funds we requested for travel, which is fair given the current economic state, I noticed that a certain ASG leadership retreat got the entire $5,000 they requested. For those of you wishing to confirm this information the link to the ASG budget can be found in their letter.

Our advisor and dean were notified on June 11 of the “65% rule” and according to the student government that gave us plenty of time to fundraise. Lets think about this real quick.

They were informed of the rule during the summer break, at a time when it is still unknown to programs such as the Lariat who will be joining the staff.

Therefore, our program had to wait until we confirmed who was going to be on staff before even considering fundraising to begin with. So yes, the information on the rule did come in June, but how much fundraising do you expect staff to do by themselves over summer recess?

ASG also had some choice words when it came to my previous columns about their offices. I would like to take some time to respond to their concerns and comments.

“Should a few students shoulder the burden, or should all be encouraged to contribute?”

You imply in this statement that student-generated funds are solely responsible for the upkeep and staff as room expenses. Would this room cease to exist if it weren’t for the funds generated by ASG? How was the room kept up in the past when it wasn’t the ASG office? Obviously more funds then are simply generated by ASG are used for the room.

You also pose an interesting hypothetical question with regards to the Lariat classroom. I used a different word there in case you didn’t notice, classroom. The Lariat is a four-unit class and as such our staff has assignments, instruction and at the end of the semester we receive a letter grade for our efforts.

Our “office” as you call it is open to the public, we often have students, faculty and even members of ASG come into the classroom to voice concerns and give us information for upcoming stories.

Obviously students not enrolled in the newspaper class cannot come into our classroom and make use of the computers. Similarly any class around campus that has a computer lab has the same restrictions.

If however the Lariat staff sold a stamp to students to help fund our program and keep up our classroom, this would put us in the same boat. We are completely different entities and programs.

I still maintain my opinion that having a place such as the ASG offices and using student funds to provide that office with things like hand sanitizers is exclusionary to the student body as a whole.

My columns have advocated for a student lounge and the Lariat would be happy to work the ASG to support such a space on campus.

As you may have read in previous Lariat issues, our staff has and will continue to run stories with regards to the ASG and the work they do to benefit students.

The challenge echoed over and over again in your letter to me was that I should attend your meetings and find out the “real truth”.

As a response to this let me just say a couple things, as this column is turning more and more into, what’s the word you used, oh yes a rant.

As a reporter last semester, I attended and worked hand in hand a great deal with the ASG to cover their events and other things they were promoting across campus to benefit students.

I have also attended quite a few of your senate meetings, including several were you worked on the budget this year.

In my position as managing editor for this semester’s Lariat I cannot attend all of these meetings, as I am not the one responsible for writing these stories. I do however assign stories, many of them ASG related, and personally either proof read or read all of these articles as they appear in the paper.

I have never, and will never, refuse to attend meetings or speak to anyone in ASG. As previously stated, these columns are opinion columns. The purpose of these are not to report the facts, that is what news articles are for, rather the purpose is for the author to give his opinions on the facts.

The Lariat will continue, as we always have, to work side by side with student government. However I, as well as the rest of my staff, will also continue to voice our opinions on campus and national concerns, including ASG.

Once again to end things on a lighter note, I want to once again extend an invitation to the ASG for a friendly game of softball, basketball or even dodge ball. I am still awaiting your response to this, as it was quite possibly the most important thing I discussed in the last column.