The Pioneer Staff’s New Year’s Wishes

Will Thompson

As the world rings in the new year, and CSUEB welcomes students back for Winter quarter, we at the Pioneer would like to express a few of our wishes for 2011¬—world peace, speedy economic recovery and lower tuition are included, but need not be elaborated upon for obvious reasons.

Two thousand ten came and went, a maelstrom of natural and man-made disasters (the Haiti earthquake and the BP oil spill), vitriolic political campaigning (and exorbitant spending on the part of a certain California gubernatorial candidate), “celebrity” (sports figures, reality stars, TV pundits) bad behavior (usually in the form of adulterous behavior, with the occasional racist or misogynistic outburst), and occasionally, some combination of the aforementioned. Oh, and the Giants won the World Series.

Through it all, we tried to make some sense of what went on, and presented it to our readers in an objective and rational manner. For those issues we felt strongly about—like ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or immigration reform—we embraced our adopted position and did our best to deliver it to our readers fairly and respectfully.

Some, like our endorsement of Proposition 25 and the DADT repeal, materialized, while others, like passing the DREAM Act, failed to do so. Hoorah to the former, quel dommage to the latter.

In any case, journalism has little time for celebrating victories and lamenting losses, and with the advent of a new decade, we submit a couple of our wishes for 2011.

Bring the troops back home

Last August, the last U.S. combat brigades were withdrawn from Iraq, signaling the end of combat operations in the country after more than seven years. However, over 50,000 U.S. troops remain in the country to presumably provide support in training and equipping Iraqi security forces, and are scheduled to leave by the end of this year.

Many of those combat troops withdrawn will see (or already have seen) combat in Afghanistan, where our efforts saw a surge in early 2010 reminiscent of the one Iraq saw in 2006 under the command of General David Petraeus. Last year saw the general taking the reins from General Stanley McChrystal, who was sacked from his post as commander of U.S. and international troops after unflattering remarks he made about Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials.

Despite increasing violence and continuous but guarded reassurances of coalition gains in the war-ravaged nation, the Obama administration is still struggling to develop a cohesive exit strategy for the war in Afghanistan, which will hit the ten-year mark in October.

We hope that the administration stands by its timetable for Iraq, and brings our all of our fighting men and women home by year’s end. And by home, we mean home—hopefully the commander-in-chief will find a way for us to exit Afghanistan as peacefully and as soon as possible, and abide by the administration’s scheduled summer 2011 drawdown.

It’s early, but bringing all our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan home by Christmas of this year would be a long, overdue gift.

Please, Mr. Governor, don’t forget the students

Students in California may have noticed the seemingly perpetual rising costs of, well, everything related to college and university life, as well as the reduction of needed classes, faculty and staff.

Newly elected governor Jerry Brown, who inherits the massive budget deficit that has effectively crippled the state since 2008, will have to determine not whether to make sweeping budget cuts in all areas, but how much, and how to do so without further incurring the wrath of unions, businesses, students, and, well, just about everybody.

We wish him good luck, and for a little mercy for education—especially that of the higher variety.

Sure, California students, compared to their counterparts in most other states, like Oregon, pay considerably less for a college education per term. And sure, financial aid, while tightening its belt statewide, still remains accessible for those who are in need (and submit their forms promptly).

But please, allow a four-year degree to remain attainable in four years. It pains us to see qualified teachers and professors hit the unemployment line—their loss means a decline in the quality of education we receive, as well as a reduction in classes which would put us on the path to graduation, and, hopefully, the work force.

Students complain and whine a lot, and we play the whole “we’re-the-future” thing far too much. It’s not going to be easy for the governor, and the state as a whole, to endure the beating that our various departments and services will take, and it’s hard for us to expect the state to cater to our every whim, especially when so many others are still reeling from the recession.

Oh, and by the way, didn’t we mention we’re the future?