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Meet the ASI Presidential Candidates

Jordan Hansen, Contributor

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Nia Johnson

The first of the two candidates is Nia Johnson; we meet in the library study room for the interview. Stylishly dressed, she exudes confidence as she greets myself and the photographer. 

Born and raised in Oakland, she jokes that she chose to study at Cal State LA as the campus is just the right distance from where she grew up:

“I came down here to get far enough to the point that my parents couldn’t pop up on me but close enough that I can go home.”

The Political Science major has attended Cal State LA for three years and is the Vice President of the Political Science Association and the Vice President of the Forensics Speech and Debate Team. 

As the interview gets underway, Nia is prompted on her aim to “ignite systemic reform at our school”’:

“The main reform that I want to create is giving a platform for students to voice their concerns. The ASI is a bureaucratic system, so nothing can happen unless everybody is on the same page.”

Nia also expressed her view on Cal State LA as a “commuter college”; a phrase used by both candidates:

“Commuter schools have been associated with a lack of school pride or a lack of campus involvement. I’d like to bring back the Cal State LA ‘dead hour’; a time when no classes were scheduled, which was a prime opportunity for events to be thrown.”

Finally, the conversation turned to voter turnout. The ASI has struggled to attract students to vote in previous elections, with roughly 1,200 votes cast for 28,000 students in last year’s election. Nia explained what needs to be done to improve this:

“So far, I’ve presented to fourteen classes and twelve clubs. Some of the classes I’m an alumnus of so I can participate, which demonstrates to students that I’m a student too.”

Medrik Minassian

Medrik meets us in a conference room in the Corporation Yard.

“I was born in Iran and grew up in India. I did all my schooling in India and then my family migrated to the United States and here I am.” 

Medrik is studying his second masters, this time in Business. He is also the President of the International Students Organization and has published a book entitled “Awakening: A Journey”.

Medrik is prompted with his first action if elected President:

“I will make sure our ASI team is completely functioning internally; at the moment I feel we are still lacking candidates for some positions.”

He is then asked the question regarding the University as a “commuter college” and the impact this has on student life:

“It’s not a disadvantage. If we can’t have students on campus all the time, we might be able to take the campus to them. We have to maximize student time on campus and make it more fruitful.”

Medrik wants better networking between Cal State alumni and to create more internship opportunities for students. He believes that this will help students to select a major earlier in their academic career, saving fees and time.

“Academic and personal mentoring is important. The ASI could work with the University to hold events where we bring back alumni and provide opportunities to students who are willing to learn.”

Medrik explained his view on the low turnout for ASI elections: 

“I would find the time to talk to all the classes and introduce the ASI to students in person. I think this would have a huge impact.”

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Meet the ASI Presidential Candidates