ASCSU election candidates debate diverse representation, inclusion

Samantha Ye

Candidates for Colorado State University’s student government want more student participation, but they all have different ideas of how to do so.

Themes of inclusion and diversity ran through the first debate of the election season, as candidates for president and vice president of the Associated Students of CSU were questioned on their platforms.

Ad

Connor Hendrick, the sole candidate for Speaker of the Senate, also spoke about his goals for the position.

President and Vice President candidates:

Samuel Braun and Madison Taylor
Dominick Quintana and Aly Ammar
Ben Amundson and Alexandra Farias
Joshua Johnson and Joshua Griffin
Flint Corliss and Wyatt Mount

Presidential and Vice Presidential Debate

Each of the five campaigns running for the student government’s executive branch emphasized the different ways they wanted to include more student voices in the decision-making process.

The Flint Corliss and Wyatt Mount campaign said they are currently collecting as many students’ concerns as possible so they know what issues to address. If elected, they would collect more student outreach on a larger scale, Corliss said.

“We want to hear your voice and then use our voice to amplify it,” Corliss said.

Corliss said, although ASCSU can challenging for students to get into, they see an opportunity to use their past experiences and connections and invite more CSU clubs and organizations into the discussions. They also want to ensure diverse perspectives within their own cabinet.

The Samuel Braun and Madison Taylor campaign also emphasized having a leadership team of diverse thoughts, as well as bringing people of marginalized identities to the table even if it means they themselves step back, Taylor said.

“We hear diversity talked about as just like a tagline, like it’s something you’re going to work on,” Taylor said. “It should really be a lens through which you view the world, with which you view every single one of your other platforms, and I’m sick of hearing about cases of people ‘caring’ about bringing people in when they actively work to exclude other voices.”

Braun’s campaign also hopes to revolutionize student fee decisions with student body-wide votes on increases and improve ASCSU transparency with better marketing and a well-managed website.

The Joshua Johnson and Joshua Griffin campaign want to bring a new level of transparency and participation to ASCSU through the use of a free smartphone application. Johnson said the app would allow students to “communicate directly with (ASCSU) as we communicate with you.”

The app will allow thousands of students to voice their opinions on issues, including those who cannot afford the time to visit the ASCSU office, Johnson said. This “big data” aspect will help student government more accurately represent all students, he said.

Ad

Johnson also proposed creating a spirit week with themed days culminating in campus-wide celebration so adult learners and others can feel more included.

The Dominick Quintana and Aly Ammar campaign said they plan to make ASCSU more diverse and inclusive. If the student government can be made a safe environment, they can move that atmosphere into classes, Ammar said.

If elected, Quintana said his main priority is to stay engaged with the students. He would make the organization work more with the community and other student groups so that students will know the government is here to work for them.

“A lot of people don’t even know about ASCSU or care about ASCSU, and honestly, I want to change that,” Quintana said. “I want to make sure students see ASCSU as a powerful resource for them.”

The Ben Amundson and Alexandra Farias campaign have put inclusion as one of their big campaign initiatives.

Farias said the campaign wants better marketing of ASCSU’s opportunities to get a wider variety of applicants and opinions for things like the Student Fee Review Board.

While ASCSU’s issue with inclusion does not have an easy fix — Amundson cited it as the biggest challenge in his platform — he said he is passionate about making people feel included.

“I think making people feel included is about showing friendship and kindness and just making sure people are known,” Amundson said. “So that’s one of our passions and we think we can change that inside ASCSU.”

ASCSU Elections: April 8-10, vote online
The next debate is April 3 from 7-9 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Dominick Quintana and Aly Ammar answer questions during the ASCSU president and vice president election debate in the Plaza March 27. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

    Collegian | Forrest Czarnecki

  • Ben Amundson, right, and Alex Farias answer questions during the ASCSU president and vice president election debate in the Plaza March 27. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

  • Josh Johnson listens to a question during the ASCSU president and vice president election debate in the Plaza March 27. Johnson’s vice president running mate was absent during the first half of the debate. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

  • Flint Corliss answers questions during the ASCSU president and vice president election debate in the Plaza March 27. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

  • Maddie Taylor answers questions during the ASCSU president and vice president election debate in the Plaza March 27. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

  • Colorado State University students listen to the answers from presidential and vice presidential-hopeful candidates during the ASCSU president and vice president election debate in the Plaza March 27. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

Speaker of the Senate Debate

man talks into microphone
Conner Hendrick answers questions related to the position of Speaker of ASCSU before the president and vice president election debate in the Plaza March 27. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

At the time of the Plaza debate, Connor Hendrick was the only candidate running for Speaker of the Senate.

Hendrick said he has three general goals for Senate next year.

  1. Transparency: make sure all the decisions and bills ASCSU makes are communicated to the students
  2. Make people more aware of what ASCSU is: help students understand the function of the entity with a clear and updated website.
  3. Involvement: wants diverse opinions and making sure students feel welcome coming into the ASCSU office

Hendrick also said he wants clear lines of communications within ASCSU leadership, as part of his overall focus on communication.

“The role of the Speaker of the Senate is not only to lead Senate but also be the voice of CSU as a whole,” Hendrick said. “So I want to make sure that the things I say, the things that this role is, is in the best benefit of the students.”

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.