Blouch: Take Sloss and Armbrust’s campaign with a grain of salt

Cat Blouch

Editor’s Note: In order to evaluate each candidate, a few Collegian columnists discuss where they believe each candidate thrives and where they fall short. All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

A great deal of courage is required for every candidate running for the Associated Students of Colorado State University president and vice president positions during this political climate. This is a critical year where student representatives must tackle a number of severe issues, and every campaign is taking a unique approach to its promise in advocating for students. 

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Presidential candidate Jasper Sloss, a business student studying finance, economics and sports management, and his running mate Mkay Armbrust, a senior studying political science and legal studies, plan to follow through with this promise with their three-platform vision focused on putting students first. The platforms include:

  • A voice for students: Sloss and Armbrust believe ASCSU should be restored to a “students-first organization” by focusing on fighting rising student fees and ensuring students’ health and safety.
  • Prioritizing your mental health: they believe mental health resources should be more readily available and transparent.
  • Emphasizing unity for our community: Sloss and Armbrust promise to focus on transforming the campus culture by proposing better inclusion education in addition to a “zero-tolerance policy on violation of community guidelines.”

Voting for Sloss and Armbrust would be a vote for a campaign that does not spend energy on things that are out of their power. However, it might also be a vote of ambiguity as to what specific policies one might expect on the sectors of the student government they actually have influence on.

During the ASCSU presidential debate last Wednesday, they reiterated that the basis of their campaign is promising deliverable results: “All of the platforms that we have promised are things that we know are tangible and can be followed through on without debate,” Sloss said.

“An unavoidable flaw in the campaign is a lack of transparency for specific policies regarding issues in their platform.”

This straight-to-the-point approach was reinforced by Sloss not talking around what ASCSU can and can’t deliver upon. He said in response to a proposed tuition break that the 2020-21 fiscal year’s budget has already been set. The fee has already been charged, and most students have already paid it.

“For us to tell you that you will get a refund — that you will receive money back — is a lie,” Sloss said. “And anyone promising that cannot say that to you with full confidence.”

Not making false promises should ideally give the campaign the opportunity to focus on what they can realistically do during a shortened term. However, an unavoidable flaw in the campaign is a lack of transparency for specific policies regarding issues in their platform. 

Continuously, Sloss and Armbrust made the point that the campaign was first and foremost focused on hearing the voice of the whole community, but a specific policy to address this topic was scarcely elaborated on. Outside of the debate environment, Sloss and Armbrust have the only campaign without a website to outline their plan of action. 

Upon response to an inquiry about how campaigns would provide students with COVID-19 relief, Sloss’ answer didn’t seem to provide much outside of protocol students are already accustomed to, such as wearing masks when inside buildings, keeping 6 feet apart from others and not attending social gatherings.

This ambiguity was not helped by an out-of-touch joke asking the discussion facilitator if he meant “corona as in Corona beer or coronavirus?” Advocacy for a situation that has personally affected the lives of many members in a profoundly traumatic way does not begin with making light of the situation.

Nonetheless, it’s apparent that the candidates put a great deal of effort into advocating for students, having both been active members of ASCSU leading up to their campaign. However, their promises should be taken lightly.

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Cat Blouch can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BlouchCat.