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Men and Women of their Words

ASI Candidates talk strategy on fulfilling campaign promises

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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The ballots are in and our new executives must now turn their attention to fulfilling all that they set out to do. As the current school year comes to a close, members of the 2017-18 ASI are preparing for the next, already creating a plan of attack for the many issues left unresolved this past year.

Many of this year’s executives have worked with ASI before. In particular, David Zitser, our newly elected president, served as an NSS representative, and before that, on the Environmental Policy Committee. The problems he plans on targeting are ones he has become aware of over his time with ASI.

“I’ve had the opportunity to serve on both a committee and the board of directors, and I realized a common solution to both sides’ problems. That solution is the club council. The club council enlists the college representatives to help recruit students to the university committees while also giving the college representatives an opportunity to more information on how to properly represent the students,” Zitser said.

His goal is to establish club councils for every college where such a model would be suitable. These club councils would connect students to ASI through various committees.

Debbie Ascencion, newly elected NSS representative, is already working to provide a club council for her own college. For her, unity is of utmost importance. Once communication channels between the college authorities (newly appointed Dean Pamela Scott-Johnson) and the students are bridged, greater progress can be made.

“I hope to implement more class variety for the student body and carry on the NSS club council so that clubs and orgs can help one another. I also hope to create more events so people can network and have a way to again communicate their worries or simply learn from one another,” Ascencion said.

Ascencion campaigned through Together R.I.S.E., which includes VP for External Affairs Marcos Montes, VP for Academic Governance Neyda Umana, VP for Administration David Garcia, and Community Affairs Rep Yessenia Villacorta. All five are interested in creating a social justice committee. They also want to see Cal State LA cease investing in socially irresponsible companies like those in pipelines.

Montes himself wants to see a student activism guidebook produced to increase the effectiveness of ASI’s efforts. He would also like to reevaluate some outdated positions within the student government.

Besides Ascencion, the second elected NSS representative Lily Nguyen has some ideas of her own. Wanting to see mental health and stress addressed more on campus, she would like to have programs in place to take care of students with part and full-time jobs.

Other troubling issues like student parking, overpopulation, tuition increases and the plight of dreamers will not going to be ignored by this incoming administration.

“We plan on resolving the lack of student parking by funding programs like the U-Pass and raising awareness of apps such as the rideamigos app. That way, students can switch over to public transit which would alleviate the parking problem as well reduce costs spent on driving and offer a more sustainable approach to commuting,” Zitser said.

Especially with the new parking structure being built on campus, there is the possibility of over 700 parking spaces being temporarily displaced. The administration will look into providing more affordable public transit and carpooling opportunities to make this situation less troubling for commuting students.

Montes, a big proponent of the anti-tuition hike this past year, refuses to back down from his mission.

“We are concerned that there might be conversations for more hikes. That is something we will not stand by! As for this tuition hike that just passed we are pressuring the State of CA to give us money we need and the tuition hike will be rescinded. We are also looking for ways to provide more financial assistance to students through book vouchers and scholarships,” Montes said.

He also firmly believes in increasing the quantity and quality of faculty on campus to sustain a growing student population. This, of course, included dreamers.

“Dreamers are very important to our university community. More than ever they need our solidarity. I intend to be part of their discussion and negotiations with the university administration. Through my positions I will be looking for best practices in other universities, as well as documents, resources, and templates that will ensure their safety and well being. ASI currently supports the Dreamer’s Resource Center and we plan to continue that support. We are well aware of their demands and we really want to stand with them and be part of the conversation,” Montes said.

It’s clear that our new board will do what it takes to get the job done. But first, ASI’s new president is looking to flesh out the ASI team. He is seeking dedicated individuals passionate about social change to join his team and serve on various committees or as college representatives.

So, as our new Charter College of Education Rep Kenya Pineda said, Take the leap! Do it! There’s always space within A.S.I. for anybody wishing to get involved. There are various positions and volunteer opportunities for people of any college, any availability, and any experience level. A.S.I. is a wonderful opportunity to get involved on their campus and make a positive change.”

To get involved, simply access the A.S.I. website ( and find the green button labeled “Get Involved”. Open positions range from the A.S.I. student volunteer Screaming Eagles Street team to committee positions. All information, including eligibility requirements and the application, is on the website.

So make a move. Next year is just a touch away!

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