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Cal State LA Hosts 2017 Presidential Debate

Candidates for ASI Executive Positions Discuss Important Campus Issues

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Cal State LA Hosts 2017 Presidential Debate

ASI Presidential Candidates

ASI Presidential Candidates

Anthony Karambelas

ASI Presidential Candidates

Anthony Karambelas

Anthony Karambelas

ASI Presidential Candidates

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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Last Tuesday, Cal State LA hosted an officially recognized Presidential Debate. Except this one didn’t involve Trump. Instead, students running for various executive ASI positions duked it out on the issues, providing their stances on school policies and addressing student concerns.

Eight candidates in total were present at the debate. These included the candidates for president, Marcial Romero and David Zitser; VP for Finance, Aaron Castaneda;Vice President for Administration, Lavernis Martin and David Garcia; Vice President for External Affairs and Advancement, Marcos Montes; Vice President for Academic Governance, Neyda Umana; and Secretary Treasurer, Jazmin Ortiz.

Moderated by the ASI Election and Orientation Commissioner, Elizabeth Lechtholz-Zey, each candidate was asked specific questions related to their applied position. At the end of the debate, four questions were taken from the audience, primarily focused on how the candidates would improve certain elements of student life.

While the Finance candidate was asked about issues he had related to the ASI budget, The Academic Governance Candidate was prompted to discuss her views on shared governance within ASI.

Castaneda stated that students’ money should be used for students and not for faculty/staff. He proposed that less money be devoted to ASI administration, and instead be used for student programs and services.

“This is the students’ money. You guys paid out of pocket to pay for it and it should not come at the expense to pay for employees,” Castaneda said.

Regarding shared governance, the candidate for VP of Academic Governance stated her intention keep students well represented on ASI committees. She wants to keep ASI executives accountable by having all members be in direct communication with the student body, asking them for their opinions.

“But not only that, but creating a double pathway. We’re not only getting information from students, but we’re letting them know what’s going on in these committees. We’re letting them know what problems and solutions were trying to resolve, and we’re getting that student input, so that our position on the student committees are actually the student voice,” Umana said.

The incumbent candidate for External Affairs and Advancement, Marcos Montes, was asked to share his experience related to lobbying. Before serving at ASI, Montes interned through the office of California State Senator Bill Dodd, giving him a hands-on experience with the state Capitol. Never one to keep knowledge to himself, Montes quickly revived the ASI Lobby Corps group, and in turn, welcomed several new students into the family. This past year, Montes has guided new members through the complex world of conversing with representatives.

“I was able to provide a Lobby Corps clinic, which was very convenient in making sure students were trained all the way from making sure who their meeting, knowing their alma mater, what they stand for, and anything from best strategies, best practices, or things you should not do when you’re meeting with elected officials,” Montes said.

The two presidential candidates were first asked what conflict-resolution tactics they would employ if issues should arise during their time in office. Romero proposed that the board as a whole deliberate before making decisions. Zitser, drawing from his two-year involvement with ASI, noted that inter-executive discord has been a major problem within student government. He expressed his firm belief in stopping issues as soon as they arise.

“Nipping things at the bud, I believe, would be the best thing to stopping conflict. And if they escalate to high, then stopping it right there and cutting it out,” Zitser said.

Many members of the Political Science Association attended the debate, including the president, Sofia Lopez. One student asked the candidates if more services could be offered at night. Even though many students take night classes, evening hours on campus are almost always dead.

Zitser and Romero both agreed on this issue, promising to provide more late-night services through ASI. Zitser proposed that ASI student office hours be extended to encompass evening hours. Romero proposed that late-night activities and services be reintroduced by ASI.

“Last semester, during the final weeks of the semester, I saw David personally handing out snacks, little fun games for students to take a break during night classes. I’d like to see that more,” Romero said.

To keep students engaged at the debate, a raffle was conducted for Magic Mountain and Speed Zone tickets.

Stay tuned to cast your vote. Polls open on Monday, April 24 and last through through Wednesday, April 26. You can vote either online or at a voting party polling location. On Monday, polling will be conducted at the U-SU Plaza from 12-4p. On Tuesday, it will be near King Hall from 12-4p, and on Wednesday, voting will take place near the Eagle Statue from 12-4p.

Election results will be announced on April 27 from 4-5:30p at the University-Student Union.

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