ASCSU presidential and VP candidates talk issues facing students, qualifications


Collegian | Luke Bourland

Rob Long, Associated Students of Colorado State University presidential candidate, listens as vice presidential candidate Elijah Sandoval answers a question during their town hall March 28.

Katrina Leibee, Editor in Chief

Presidential and vice presidential candidates for the Associated Students of Colorado State University Rob Long and Elijah Sandoval spoke at a town hall meeting March 28 at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre. The candidates answered questions provided by CTV 11 as well as questions from audience members.

Long and Sandoval spoke on their platforms of financial responsibility, community, mental wellness and transparency, as well as answered questions regarding problems ASCSU and the campus community face.


The candidates spoke at length about diversity in ASCSU and on campus, noting they hope to make the senate a more inviting space.

“I’m a white man; … ASCSU has been built by people like me,” Long said. “I can’t live other people’s experiences; I won’t speak to that for them, I’ll let them speak to me about that, with those experiences, with those stories (and) make actions based on that.”

Sandoval discussed how seeing current vice president Merry Gebretsadik become elected to her position inspired her to run. Further, Sandoval said in preparation for their campaign, she already talked to the Student Diversity Programs and Services to gather information about how ASCSU can help them.

In regard to the issues the student body cares about, Sandoval cited lack of accommodations for disabled students and the preachers on campus as the biggest issues students face.

Sandoval said they have often heard some of the handicap buttons to open doors on campus don’t work.

“(There is a) serious lack of ways for disabled students to get around,” Sandoval said. “We claim to be a campus that’s inviting and welcoming to all students, but we can’t fix certain doors so they can function properly?”

Regarding what they bring to ASCSU and the positions they’re running for, Long said his willingness to listen and hear students is an important characteristic he will bring, and Sandoval said her outside of the box thinking is a valuable asset to it.

“I’m that person that, I want to be your friend, I want to be your mentor. I’m compassionate — I’m also a really outside (the) box thinker,” Sandoval said. “I am dyslexic, and I think in really odd ways. I give a whole different perspective a whole different point of view that people don’t think about.”

The two believe their personality traits make a great presidential and vice presidential team.


“I’m making sure we are covering the humanities side of the campaign, and he’s making sure we cover the logistics side,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval was honest in admitting that although the ASCSU vice president is the president of the Student Fee Review Board, she doesn’t believe she is qualified for that but is willing to learn and do the work in that area.

“But what I have learned … is that it takes patience, it takes grace, it takes admitting when you don’t know something and not fearing asking for help, and that’s something that I plan on doing. … I know that I have resources where I can go to ask for help, and I will learn what to do with it,” Sandoval said.

Students may be interested in what the rules are concerning the voting process, especially because of the unusual situation of only one candidate running for president, which hasn’t happened since 2007, said elections manager Gemma Buhaenko.

Buhaenko said 10% of the student body needs to vote in favor of the constitution for ASCSU to function next year, and voting in favor of the constitution is an option on RamWeb, along with voting for the candidates. If less than 10% vote, the supreme court would have to decide what happens.

However, this has not happened before, and Buhaenko said because it is a gray area, the supreme court would have to decide, as they do with all gray-area situations in ASCSU. The elections manager is still allowing write-in candidates, meaning anyone can be written in as a vote on RamWeb, but Long and Sandoval will be the only candidates actually listed.

“(The write-in candidates) probably have almost equal footing right now,” Buhaenko said.

Though the two are disappointed they are running uncontested, they encourage the students of CSU to vote regardless, whether they write in a candidate or vote for them.

“We’re using our platform to encourage students to vote, not necessarily to vote for Rob and I, but just to vote,” Sandoval said.

To end the town hall, the two candidates stated what they want their legacies to be if elected. Long said if he is elected, he wants to be remembered as the president that encouraged students to be bold.

“Do something bold,” Long said. “If you told me my freshman year I would have been sitting here today, I would have called you crazy.”

Sandoval said, “I want to be remembered as the person who stepped up and saw that the campus needed a little bit fixing up, not that it was broken, but that it needed a little TLC.”

Reach Katrina Leibee at or on Twitter @katrinaleibee.