ASCSU candidates discuss inclusivity, representation in LSC debate

Charlotte Lang

Inclusivity and representation of students by the Associated Students of Colorado State University Senate were discussed by those running for president, vice president and Speaker of the Senate in the ASCSU debate Wednesday night.

Five campaigns for the ASCSU presidential candidacy, as well as three for Speaker of the Senate, responded to questions specific to their campaign platforms. Questions regarding current student issues and concerns were also posed to all campaigns.

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Presidential and vice presidential debate

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  • ASCSU President and Vice President candidates answer questions during the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU President candidate Ben Amundson and Vice President candidate Alexandra Farias answer questions during the ASCSU LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU President candidate Joshua Johnson and Vice President candidate Joshua Griffin answer questions during the ASCSU LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU President candidate Flint Corliss and Vice President candidate Wyatt Mount answer questions during the ASCSU LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU President candidate Samuel Braun and Vice President candidate Madison Taylor answer questions during the ASCSU LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU President candidate Dominick Quintana and Vice President candidate Aly Ammar answer questions during the ASCSU LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

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A recurring topic for the five campaigns was their insistence on incorporating student voices into ASCSU and creating an atmosphere of inclusivity throughout campus. Each campaign said that representing the entire student body is an important factor for them. 

Samuel Braun and Madison Taylor said their campaign will make sure the issues discussed in their platform get done with as much student oversight as possible and that every ram is happy with the jobs they do in office.

“What we want to do is create platforms that help all students so that they know what to look for and so they know they’re able to look for us,” Taylor said, when asked about transparency between ASCSU and the student body. “We can have them hold us accountable.”

Dominick Quintana’s and Aly Ammar’s campaign wants to promote a “ramily” feeling between all students through public forums and solving the misrepresentation of students on campus.

“Our campaign is about representing every single group of student, every single kind of student that goes to CSU,” Ammar, the vice presidential candidate, said. “We want to hear from you and that’s our entire campaign.”

Ben Amundson’s vice presidential candidate, Alexandra Farias, said that they’d like to let students know what their opportunities and resources are. Farias said she’d like to advertise opportunities to students in the name of transparency. 

“We want to be transparent. We don’t want to be hypocritical. People keep asking for more money and never spend it,” Amundson said. “Our goal is for students to spend less for college this year.”

The Joshua Johnson and Joshua Griffin campaign also spoke on representing the whole student body by talking to all students and creating an app for students to directly interact with ASCSU.

“(The app) will have a page in there that will be a polling page. We will ask you questions before we even make a decision,” Griffin said about the app. “We believe this country was created to be governed from the bottom up, and CSU should also reflect that.”

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Flint Corliss and Wyatt Mount said they consider themselves to be a campaign for and from the students, and they are focused on amplifying student voices. Presidential candidate Corliss said they were the first and only campaign to hear student voices on parking and meet with transportation services to discuss issues brought up by students.

“We will work with as many offices as we can to get our opinions increased and are ever increasing our outreach,” Corliss said. “We won’t stop until everyone is included.”

Speaker of the Senate debate

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  • ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidate Connor Hendrick answers questions during the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidate Kevin Lorusso answers questions during the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidate Blake Alfred answers questions during the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidates Blake Alfred, Connor Hendrick and Kevin Lorusso pose for a portrait before the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • A moderator for the ASCSU LSC Theatre Debate debate counts down time for a candidate April 3. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • ASCSU President and Vice President candidates answer questions during the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

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The three candidates for the Speaker of the Senate positions— Kevin Lorusso, Blake Alfred and Connor Hendrick— answered questions regarding transparency and plans to bring greater awareness to ASCSU.

Lorusso said that ASCSU is in need of a strong, rational and understanding leader. He said he’ll be able to give ASCSU and the students of CSU the same leadership he gave while serving in the military.

He also discussed transparency by referring to the $800,000 rollover budget found in the ASCSU budget recently.

“Transparency to me is saying, ‘Look, we found $800,000 and here’s how we lost it to begin with.’ I would make sure that the books were more open,” Lorusso said. “This is the money of the students.”

Lorusso also said he would make sure all organizations are treated equally as far as that money is concerned, and that students receive the proper funding they need for their organizations.

Alfred said the primary issue his campaign hopes to resolve is increasing ASCSU Senate marketing as a whole. He said that the Senate does a lot, but many students don’t know about it until after it’s done.

“I think transparency means letting the students know what we can do for them, and what we have done in the past,” Alfred said. “I think what we’re failing is letting people know what we can do for them. We’re not marketing it to them.”

Hendrick said he would focus on three key areas: transparency, awareness and involvement.

“We have a great diverse group of students as our Senate body in ASCSU as a whole but I really want to focus on bringing in new more diverse voices,” Hendrick said, in regards to involvement. “I want to do this by making sure our website is as up to date as possible, and I want to consider bringing out an app to connect students better with ASCSU.”

Hendrick said that updating the ASCSU website will allow the Senate to communicate with the student body about bills that have and haven’t passed, as well as openings and opportunities.

Voting for ASCSU elections will be online April 8-10.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Chartrickwrites.