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LTTE: Be informed when you vote in ASCSU elections

I am writing today to inform students of a matter that I believe is important for them to understand. As many students know, the ASCSU elections are currently in the works, with voting occurring April 6th, 7th and 8th.  If students care to make an informed decision on the candidates they vote for, I believe the information I have to present is something important to consider. For clarification, I am not at all telling students who they should vote for, but instead I would like to encourage students who are voting to make informed decisions and do their research before electing their student leaders and representatives.

I have been involved in ASCSU for the last three years and I truly care about this organization. I believe the majority of ASCSU members are compassionate and hard-working individuals that have worked hard to serve students, and I believe ASCSU has the potential to continue doing great things for students with the right leadership.

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I am not a likely person to get involved in the politics and the “drama” of the campaign season at all, but I feel that I need to formally stand up for what I believe in and let my voice be heard. This is why I want to present students with some information and my perspective on the presidential candidate, Kwon Yearby.

For some background information, as I stated, I have been involved in ASCSU for three years now but have never actually worked directly with Kwon and I do not know him extremely well personally. I was not at all involved in the impeachment process and remain unbiased in all previous allegations against Kwon. All of my concerns about his capability to lead ASCSU are strictly professional concerns. I would also like to add that I have no personal stakes in the results of the elections this year. I have not been working on an opposing campaign, and I am not planning on being involved in ASCSU at all next year. My motivation behind this letter is simply that I care about the organization and the work that we do. I also think it is important to state I have nothing against Clayton King, Kwon’s running mate. I believe Clayton would do a great job leading ASCSU and this letter is not intended to question his abilities in any way.

What I feel I have a credible opinion about is the way Kwon has presented his work in getting the Around the Horn on-campus shuttle started. To be clear, I was Director of Environmental Affairs last year and worked very closely with the campus Alternative Transportation Manager to start the service. I held my own survey about the service and was also involved in a greater campus wide survey. Kwon was never present in any of our meetings or involved in any of the student polling and surveying process. I need to be honest about all of this, and Kwon has never outright lied to my knowledge or in my presence, but he has twisted the truth to make it seem that he was the leading ASCSU member starting Around the Horn. In the debate Wednesday he stated, “I wrote the recommendation myself, I sat down with (the CSU Alternative Transportation Manager)” and “I talked to students, and it was eventually made possible.” Kwon did write the original resolution, but the original legislation stated ASCSU was not in support of the on-campus shuttle. He continually argued that the shuttle needed to be extended to the Library lot and to make a full loop on campus, even after we were informed by those planning the shuttle that would not be possible — that there was not enough room in the areas to expand the route on campus. This is one of his platforms he is running on currently, and it worries me that he is promising students results that will not be accomplished. The Transfort contract that included the creation of Around the Horn was signed last year and is signed every three years. The changes Kwon is promising about altering Around the Horn cannot be accomplished.

The original resolution that Kwon wrote was not in support of the shuttle, even after student surveys proved the service was something most students wanted. I attended the Senate committee meeting where Kwon was not present, and, with the help of the senators at the committee, we changed the resolution to state that ASCSU also supported the idea of the on-campus shuttle. Not only was Kwon not involved in this decision, but it was clear to me that he was upset about the changes we had made, even after the student voice survey was complete. The number one concern that I have with Kwon as ASCSU president is that he is willing to shape an argument in the way that best suits his needs, even if it is not the whole truth. I am not in support of Kwon taking credit for starting the Around the Horn shuttle like I believe he is trying to do.

It is my personal opinion that the number one qualification for our CSU student body president should be integrity. For a candidate to gain my vote they have to prove to me that they are being honest with students and will continue to be honest with students, as it is their responsibility to represent all 30,000 of us in campus and community issues.

I believe Kwon will have an argument against my statements, as he should have a right to, but I encourage students to think about what the entire story could entail from all point of view, as both his and my own perspectives are just two of many.

Sincerely,

Samantha Block
Director of Environmental Affairs
Associated Students of Colorado State University

Editor’s note: ASCSU presidential candidate Kwon Yearby responded to this letter soon after it was published online. The original Senate legislation to which Block and Yearby refer can be viewed here. The amended legislation can be viewed here.

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Letters to the Editor can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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