ASCSU presidential campaign: Kwon Yearby and Clayton King

Christina Vessa and Lawrence Lam

Five months ago, he lost his ASCSU senate seat due to an impeachment. Now, he is running for student body president.

Sustainability, increasing diversity and fighting for student rights are three main platforms of Kwon Yearby and Clayton King’s “Fight On” campaign. These candidates hope to encourage a green campaign by connecting to students through student media, instead of traditional fliers.

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Clayton King and Kwon Yearby are encouraging sustainability, student rights and diversity representation as part of their 2015 - 2016 campaign initiatives. (Photo Credit: Christina Vessa)
Clayton King and Kwon Yearby are encouraging sustainability, student rights and diversity representation as part of their 2015 – 2016 campaign initiatives. (Photo Credit: Christina Vessa)

Goals under the sustainability platform include: painting all recycle bins electric blue, encouraging zero waste practices at events and expanding the reach of the on-campus shuttle, Around the Horn, which Yearby wrote the original recommendation for during his time in senate.

Making recycling bins stand out on campus will increase confidence in CSU’s green initiatives, while decreasing contamination, according to Yearby.

Yearby and King plan to incorporate sexual assault education classes into the AUCC, increase diversity seats in senate and increase student organization funding.

“I am taking a course called Gender Based Violence in a US context,” Yearby said. “I hope that we can incorporate women’s studies and sexual assault prevention courses. It is something that would vastly change the campus and the world.”

Goals to fight for student rights include: changing the U+2 law in Fort Collins to U+N, creating a housing review board and mandating monthly grade updates from departments.

Both candidates support Ward Luthi for mayor, as they said he is someone who can be considered their ally in the city. Luthi said he opposes the new stadium and considers U+2 to be discriminatory to students.

If elected, the duo believes that they can reduce the ASCSU student fee while increasing funding for student organizations.

“We can do all of our platforms with less than the money of what ASCSU takes in right now,” Yearby said. “Decrease that fee, but increase the impact.”

Presidential candidate: Kwon Yearby

Kwon Yearby radiated messages of equality to students laying on the floor of the Lory Student Center in protest of police brutality last fall. Yearby’s involvement as a leader for diversity on campus directly relates to the platforms of his campaign.

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Kwon Yearby, a junior economics major, speaks during the student protest of events that happened in Ferguson.
Kwon Yearby, a junior economics major, speaks during the student protest of events that happened in Ferguson. (Collegian File Photo)

Yearby’s experience with the United Men of Color, Undeclared Leadership Council and the Black African American Cultural Center have shaped his focus toward diversity and student representation at CSU.

“The biggest (is) to represent invisible identities,” Yearby said. He said increasing representation for diverse groups around campus will have a big impact on the CSU community.

Although Kwon Yearby’s relationship with the Associated Students of Colorado State University ended in November with impeachment, he perseveres to make changes in student government and on campus.

As vice president of the Undeclared Leadership Council, Yearby created a resource for undeclared students to explore majors on RamCT.

With ASCSU, Yearby created two diversity seats in senate that represent cultural advocacy centers around campus. He hopes to focus and restore diversity representation in senate for Asian, African American, LBGT and disabled students, among others.

As treasurer for United Men of Color, Yearby participates in the fight against racial stereotypes as well.

Yearby emerged as a student leader during protests on campus, according to Khalil Perkins, secretary of the United Men of Color.

“It struck home to him,” Perkins said. “He was passionate about participating in that because of what it represented and the lives that were lost.”

Perkins said Yearby can be relied on to make a change.

“If you need him, he is that guy,” Perkins said. “If there is an issue, he is going to tackle that on.”

Yearby is currently engaged to Lauren Stadeker, a CSU alumna.

“I ran into her in the dining hall and I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t have anyone to sit with, can I sit with you?'” Yearby said. “Fairly quickly I fell head over heels.”

Stadeker said communication is one of Yearby’s strengths as a role model to students.

“He is not afraid to say, ‘I don’t know,'” Stadeker said. “He is very critical as a leader (because) even if he doesn’t know the answer, he will always go get help.”

As for bringing back his presence in ASCSU, Perkins said that Yearby never really stopped caring about student government.

“(The impeachment) was one of those things like when a relationship ends, but you still love that person,” Perkins said. “Just like Kwon loved ASCSU. He felt betrayed, (but) it is not surprising to me that he’s back for more.”

Collegian Assistant News Editor Christina Vessa can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @chrissyvessa.

Vice presidential candidate: Clayton King

On sunny, lazy days, Clayton King can be found outside with Bruno, his 9-year-old border collie and lab mix, hiking trails in his open-toed shoes and swim trunks. But those moments are rare, as he spends most of his time on campus, trying to make life easier for students.

King, a resident of Fort Collins since 5th grade, currently sits on the University Facility Fee Advisory Board, the Liberal Arts Dean’s Leadership Council and the Student Fee Review Board. In addition, he interns for Congressman Jared Polis and works at Braiden dining hall.

His running mate, Kwon Yearby, chose him to be his vice presidential candidate because of his independence from popular thought within the senate chambers.YearbyKing3

“In senate it can be a very monotonous, hegemonic group,” Yearby said. “A lot of the same A-type people thinking the same. Clayton’s been somebody who’s been able to step up and say, ‘no I don’t like this’ or go against the grain of popular opinion.”

Unlike the students running in this year’s senator elections, King was not elected to his seat to represent the College of Liberal Arts. Rather, he was appointed due to ASCSU’s low retention rate at the time.

“Coming onto campus my freshman year, I really tried to get involved, but ASCSU was not visible at that time, and the only way I became involved is thoroughly inappropriate for a student body,” King, a second year student, said.

As a senator, he has worked on many projects, from diversity inclusion to student fees. He, along with other senators, is fighting against a University proposition to reduce parking at the core of campus to make room for construction, according to Sen. P.J. Seel.

“He and several of the other Senators are definitely taking a much harder approach — that what’s happening is wholly unfair to students and that we need to do something to immediately change that,” Seel said. “And from their point of view, it’s looking at what the University’s doing is unfair because it’s disadvantaging student accessibility to campus.”

To find more information about presidential and vice presidential candidates Kwon Yearby and Clayton King, visit their Facebook page and meet with them on the LSC Plaza in the days preceding the election on April 6, 7 and 8.

Collegian Reporter Lawrence Lam can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @LawrenceKLam.