Daily Titan | Students for Quality Education Gathers to Discuss Social Problems
Author: Sarah Wolstoncroft & Jade Love
Students for Quality Education (SQE) held its weekly meeting and a workshop concerning student activism hosted by the Sociology Club Monday.
During the meeting, interns of the organization, Liz Sanchez and Ashley Rojo expressed their statewide and campus goals including the pursuit of free higher education and tackling the problem of the constant rise in student fees and tuition.
“Students become conditioned that this is a commuter campus and the administration doesn’t step in,” Sanchez said. “ASI doesn’t step in and say ‘how can we build a larger community that works on these issues together?’”
SQE has gained members through demonstrations, townhalls and presentations on reasons that privatization of higher education is a problem, Rojo said.
“Our biggest demonstration so far was performance art activism at Discoverfest,” Sanchez said.
The demonstration included Rojo wearing a mask of CSUF President Mildred Garcia while walking a chained Sanchez in bloody clothing around campus. The demonstration aimed to represent the president and university ignoring student needs and suffering, Rojo said.
The group has faced some obstacles in the past. When trying ot plan a townhall, the organization was unable to reserve a room because they are not recognized as a campus club.
In spite of setbacks, Rojo believes that SQE’s demonstrations have been successful because they have gained the support of strong allies, including Dean of Students Dr. Tonantzin Oseguera.
“I support a robust and healthy conversation about issues,” Oseguera said. “We need to listen to perspectives that are different than our own, and I think that’s important in order to have good discussion.”
After the gathering, SQE held a workshop at the Sociology Club meeting that was open to anyone interested in an open discussion about topics ranging from student fee allocation, the privatization of the education system and radical activism.
“Why do we have to act a certain way to get a message across?” Sanchez asked. “Why do we have to follow certain rules to be heard?”
The attendees were then asked to focus their attention toward a powerpoint presentation featuring quotes and ideas from prominent players in major social movements including Michel Foucault, Audre Lorde and C. Wright Mills.
Topics discussed throughout the presentation included the “sociological imagination”, the “relationship between power and knowledge” and “conflict and feminist theory.”
“Just the humanities in general – I feel like it’s just this place of wonderful knowledge that helps us expand, but yet we’re so scared to fight the system for some reason,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez emphasized that the ideals and standards in modern society are nothing but a false narrative set in place over the years by the ruling class.
Sociology Department lecturers Ivan Sanchez and Burrel Vann Jr. expressed their concerns with radical activism.
“If you start out as a radical organization then you’re not going to gain that residence,” Vann Jr. said in the open discussion portion of the workshop. “It’s important, but you don’t want to be overlooked. But, if you build yourself as a strong organization that’s doing various other things, those radical things get brought into the fray as an important aspect of the social movement and not just a crazy thing that the organization is doing.”
Sanchez referenced Kesiena Boom’s piece on black versus white feminism, stating that we shouldn’t be afraid to fight back and take an aggressive approach toward social change.
“I don’t care what I look like to you. You need to hear my message, and I’m trying my best to get your attention,” Sanchez said. “I think the mainstream wants you to think that (activism) is distracting from the message so that you can stop people from doing it. They want you to play by the rules.”