By Alejandro Ambriz
In areas surrounding the library and E3 building, petitioners have been persistently asking for signatures since the beginning of the spring semester.
These are typically brief interactions, such as when they ask for a signature regarding rent control or are advocating for a candidate. There is nothing wrong with the recruiters asking for signatures, especially since they include policies like waste management and housing initiatives that would directly impact us.
It becomes a problem when they become persistent, almost aggressive, and students are purposely taking a longer route to avoid them. Some students will pull out their phones and others will simply look straight ahead without batting an eye.
Some students are too polite to say “no thank you” or feel rude if they don’t stop to hear them out.
Jesse Aguilar, a political science student at ELAC believes allowing the petitioners on campus can take away from the learning environment and can be intimidating for returning students like himself.
“I decided I wanted to spend more time on campus and be more active…I haven’t been able to do that because of the constant bombardment… I’m in the middle of chewing my food and [the petitioners] come up to me and ask if I could sign their petition…they’ve become rude and disrespectful,” Aguilar said.
It has become hard for students to find a corner on campus to sit down and discuss their class without having someone interrupt ingthe conversation with a petition proposal.
Even if you say no to one, there are always more petitioners with several petitions they want you to sign on the way to the parking lot alone.
Students don’t always have the time to listen to or sign five different petitions.
Others might also not be interested in the policies proposed because they do not live in the area.
Some students are simply not informed on the petitions they sign. As they are stopped on their way to class or the bus and recruiters know this.
“They’ll ask the student to sign their petition, and the student will ask what it is for,” Aguilar said.
“They’ll give them a catchy one liner and the student will say ‘sure I support that.”
Since students are in a rush, they will usually sign without knowing too much or ignore the petitioner.
For a lot of these recruiters this is their source of income, so it’s in their interest to be persistent. Sometimes petitioners will follow the students and latch on to another student walking by if the first one decides to not listen.
With ELAC’s 35,000 plus student enrollment as of 2018-2019, according to College Tuition Compare, it is a massive hub for students of all ages.
This is not to say that the recruiters need to leave the campus as it would impede their free speech, but it’s definitely an issue that needs more attention from administration.
Students have a right to feel safe and secure while being able to get from one class to another without being harassed or followed. Voting is important and so is participating in politics, but the priority must remain on the students’ education and experience.