Students from San Francisco State University have seen their tuitions rise by more than $1,000 since they began their college careers, putting college and the future it can bring more and more out of reach for many young people.
A group of juniors and seniors told The CA Forward Radio Show they want government to be more transparent, accountable to their needs, and working toward results.
“Government should be my watchdog,” said Miss Sapphire, a senior at SF State. “They’re supposed to look out for me, and they’re not doing that right now.”
“Show me the results,” said junior Casey Cagle. “Government needs to perform for us before we can trust it again.”
The students also had a clear understanding of their role.
Cagle said the government has a responsibility to do right by you, and you have a responsibility to take full advantage of it.
“Once all the hard work is done, you’ll be in a spot where you can get into the system and change for the better for yourself and those around you,” Cagle said.
“The government says all the time that our generation doesn’t know anything and we’re not socially aware about what’s going on in politics,” said Miss Sapphire. “But students know what’s going on.”
When asked what would help them regain confidence in their government, the response was unanimous – having a government that listens and connects.
“If they really are concerned, I would like to see more of an interest in the colleges or the financial system,” said Jody. “But, I’m not seeing anything, or not much.”
“If somebody would visit and actually take time to talk to the students – and instead of saying we’re not doing anything about it actually look over those notes and find a way – I think that would make a difference,” said Miss Sapphire.
“There needs to be a lot more transparency between the people and their government,” Cagle said. “I live in the state of California, but I feel very distanced from California government as far as its impact on me as a person.”
Beyond transparency, Cagle wants to see the system prioritize the people over special interests.
“We voted them into that office, so really they should consult us,” he said. “If people feel dissatisfied with the system, it would be appropriate for the government to reach out to the people and say, help us out. What can we do? What should we do? And, how are you willing to help us do it?”
The CA Forward Radio Show airs live every Thursday at 1pm at KSFS.SFSU.edu.
Gina Baleria is a Communications Manager for California Forward