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ASCSU Elections: Speaker of senate candidates debate policy ahead of elections

ASCSU+Speaker+of+the+Senate+Candidate+Hayden+Taylor+talks+about+student+government+communication+during+the+ASCSU+Speaker+of+the+Senate+Debate.
Collegian | Cait Mckinzie
ASCSU speaker of the senate candidate Hayden Taylor talks about student government communication during the ASCSU speaker of the senate debate March 26. “We need to have communication with students — something that’s been lacking quite a bit in the past,” Taylor said. “We need to be going to classes and clubs and student organizations and finding students who will be getting involved with us.”
CTV Channel 11
Watch the full debate for ASCSU Speaker of the House.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of The Collegian’s 2024 ASCSU elections coverage. Coverage will include profiles of each speaker of the senate, vice presidential and presidential candidate; debate coverage; and coverage of any elections news. Search 2024 ASCSU elections on collegian.com to see complete coverage as it is published.

With campaigns for the Associated Students of Colorado State University starting last week, this past Tuesday featured debates before elections open April 1. Speaker of the senate candidates Enock Monanti and Hayden Taylor began the debates 7 p.m. March 26 in the Lory Student Center University Ballroom. 

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Each candidate was allotted one minute for opening statements, 45 seconds for general questions, one minute for candidate-specific questions and 30 seconds for rebuttals. 

Monanti’s opening statement focused on his current position and what he hopes to bring to senate.

“I’m the chair of diversity, equity and inclusion affairs committee within ASCSU, and I’m running for speaker of the senate,” Monanti said. “I wholeheartedly want to improve senate in the best way possible, and I aim to make this a fair, just, fun place.”

Taylor’s opening statement discussed aims for his campaign along with his current position.

“I’ve been in the senate space two years now,” Taylor said. “I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m the chair of the Internal Affairs Committee, so I have decent knowledge of the space, definitely. … My campaign is focused on advocacy and on being able to be a voice of all students at this university.”

After the opening statements came general questions, the first of which involved new leadership and how the candidates plan to collaborate with administrators in keeping the campus engaging, safe and welcoming. 

“I plan to reach out to all the leaders, new and old, (as well as) the incumbent,” Monanti said. “I am the person committed to representing the student body and will make sure that their voices are heard by these individuals who have been here far longer than I.”

Taylor followed Monanti’s remarks.

“ASCSU has had a lot of allegations of being out of touch with the students,” Taylor said. “It’s not just ASCSU that’s out of touch; it’s CSU as well. … We can be opening communication, I think — … being able to all get on the same page.”

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Many subjects were discussed during the debate, including responsibility, obligation and honesty.

“Accountability and transparency (look) like owning up to our actions, making sure we address the issues and harms caused by any actions done by us, as well as with transparency, making sure that the students actually know what’s going on,” Monanti said. “We can best answer (students’) questions or, at the very least, get them in touch (with) people who can better answer their questions.”

Taylor’s remarks expressed a similar sentiment.

“At the end of the day, that’s what the job is,” Taylor said. “It’s about communicating with students. It’s about being accountable in a way that leaders in ASCSU in the past have not been. And with transparency, not many students know what ASCSU does. When folks in ASCSU talk to students on campus, a lot of them have questions.”

The audience — online and in person — asked the candidates questions after the regular debate.

Both candidates were asked about ASCSU’s key actions.

“I believe that the most important function that ASCSU is responsible for is the spending of student fees,” Monanti said. “How we as an organization best operate in showing that (is) showing students, … ‘Hey, you have a stake where your money is.'”

Taylor, who earlier mentioned focus on student fees and the cost of attending CSU, discussed support for students.

“The most important thing we do in the senate is advocacy,” Taylor said. “The best thing that we can do is get students involved and to be able to make connections with those students to be the best advocates we can possibly be.”

Another question for both candidates was about the purpose of their position and why they decided to run for senate. 

“The reason why I chose to run for office is to make sure senate is accurately representing … all of the students within CSU, as well as making sure that students feel comfortable within that space,” Monanti said. “It would be a lot easier to have some engagement and have (student) voices be able to be heard if they felt a lot more comfortable in that space.”

Taylor focused on his dedication and enthusiasm for the job.

“I chose to do this because I’m passionate, like I said, about ASCSU and about CSU,” Taylor said. “I’m passionate about advocacy; I know that it costs too much to go to CSU, and I want to help to be a change in that. … Getting students involved in making (the senate) a welcoming space, (where) students can come and voice issues that they have.”

Some questions came from audience members who attended in person before closing remarks were made by each candidate. 

“I’m so glad to see all y’all out here, whether it’s in person or digital,” Monanti said. “I hope that on April 1-3, you vote; I don’t care how you vote, just as long as you vote. Because remember: Your voice might be one droplet, but it can cause ripples in a sea of thousands.”

Reach Aubree Miller at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian

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