Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Entire Campus, Our Entire Nation is Free Speech Area (Unsigned Editorial)

Art by Adrian Martinez

“If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
– George Orwell

After a pitched, four-year battle on the Southwestern College campus to throw off a previous administration’s strangulating “Free Speech Area,” some folks on campus have inexplicably resumed referring to the little patch of concrete west of the cafeteria by the same name.


When warriors fight and bleed to win freedoms, nothing infuriates them more than having someone else casually give them back. Warriors feel insulted. And why not? They are being insulted. The message is, nothing you did then matters to us now.

During the turbulent years of the Chopra regime, “Free Speech Area” was used to describe the covered patio just west of the cafeteria. It was also the way administration segregated students from society and took away their rights. To protest, speak out or register students to vote, we were sent to the “Free Speech Area.” If we wandered away, they would come down on us hard.

Student Workers Take Salary Reduction

Faculty and staff voted to take a 5 percent pay cut last spring to prevent more class cuts. Student workers on campus also took a pay cut, but never got a chance to vote. Some insist they were never told.

There is also confusion about what college records say students are making and what they are actually paid. Students, like employees, are making 5 percent less, but official college payroll records do not reflect the pay reductions.

One student, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he had worked at the Academic Success Center (ASC) for years. According to payroll records he is making $11 per hour. In reality, after the cut, he is paid $10.45 an hour. He said the monthly contract he must sign to keep his job stipulates he will be paid at his original rate of $11 even though he is actually making $10.45.

“Every month we sign our HRTs (Human Resource Transactions), the form which shows how many hours we worked and what our rate of pay is,” he said. “Every month I signed that timesheet at the beginning of the month, and again it said I would be paid $11 per hour.”