Mar 302005
Authors: Erin Tracy

The Associated Students of CSU presidential and vice presidential candidates spoke out on issues such as RamRide, campaign funding and the possible marijuana referendum in a debate Wednesday night.

The two sets of ASCSU presidential/vice presidential candidates – Courtney Stephens/Jon Muller and Chris Hutchins/Nicholette Andrews – squared off in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

One of the issues continually discussed by the two tickets was RamRide.

Stephens and Muller said part of their platform is to start a "RamRide return," where students would receive a ride back to the their car the morning after taking RamRide.

Hutchins questioned whether the change in RamRide would also change the "non-judgmental mission" of RamRide.

"We don't feel that it changes the nature of the non-judgmental ride home whatsoever," Stephens said.

RamRide return would also be a way to get more of the student population involved in giving students rides, Muller said.

The two tickets also debated this year's change in ASCSU campaign funding. Campaign spending was lowered from $3,000 to $2,000 for the 2005 campaign, and each ticket had different feelings on the change.

"When you have such phenomenal amounts in campaign expenditures you really alienate students of low income who can't afford to run," Stephens said. "So we find it to be a very important factor that money does not become an issue in an ASCSU election."

Hutchins countered.

Students with a low income can run for office because it is not dependent on how much a person makes, Hutchins said.

"I would like to point out the fact that our entire campaign-expense budget has been completely fundraised," he said. "With drawing back the spending limits it really limits creativity."

Both tickets declined comment on the marijuana referendum – being pursued by the organization SAFER Choice – that could potentially be on the ASCSU ballot.

Both campaign tickets started out the debate by explaining their platforms.

"Our platform is, 'The choice is C.L.E.A.R.,'" Stephens said.

C.L.E.A.R. stands for community, learning, experience, activities and rides.

Hutchins and Andrews followed suit and explained their platform, "Vote for P.E.D.R.O."

P.E.D.R.O stands for pride on campus, effective communication, diversity programming, responding to student needs and optimizing parking and transportation.

At the end of the evening, the "town hall" section began with roughly 20 audience members asking questions directly to the candidates.

Issues addressed included RamRide, Ram pride, the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) and alumni relationships.

ASCSU Vice President Ben Goldstein said a new portion of the debate – in which the candidates questioned each other – was a welcomed addition, because it allowed for them to questions their opponents' weaknesses.

"I feel like the debates offered the students a clear view of where the different candidates sit on the issues as well as the different experiences they will bring to ASCSU if elected," Goldstein said.

He also said it was unfortunate that more students did not attend the debate, hoping they would find other ways to find out what the candidates discussed. Campus Television and KCSU recorded the debate and will broadcast portions of it this week.

"I hope they (students) take the time to catch them on CTV or KCSU to help better inform themselves," Goldstein said.

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